Science Vs Ethics

  • Created by: gracepxx
  • Created on: 18-05-16 16:45

P1 - Intro

Ethical issues and science often conflict during studies as researchers try to conduct valid research whilst protecting the rights of participants

A cost-benefit analysis is used to decide if the scientific gains from the study are worth the possible ethical risks

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P2 - Milgram

M's obedience study is one which led to debate on the costs vs the benefit - had huge effects and triggered many more studies - means out understanding of behaviour has increased due to reliability

However, Mandel (1998) studied German policemen during the Holocaust and found that being physically close to someone didn't make them disobey and suggested in real life people obey for other reasons than Milgram states

Milgram's study criticsed in terms of ethics - psychological harm & right to withdreaw - many Ps seen to sweat, tremble and have siezures - despite being told they could leave at any time, the Ps were prompted to continue if they showed hesitation making leaving research difficult

Despite this, scientific gains could be seen as more important - findings were counter-intuitive and M's inital interviews suggested people wouldn't reach highest shock but fact they did highlights importance of situational factors 

M defended criticisms he got - he asked Ps 1 year later if they were glad they took part - 84% said yes and 74% said it had taught them something 

Felt research was criticised due to shocking findingd rather than procedure - more gains than costs

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P3 - Case study of HM

Case studies provide deep insight into unique circumstances - often hard to study

Observing HM over 40 years gave scientists and psychologists rich picture of behaviour 

Informed consent - HM only had memory of 90 secs so couldn't consent to full 40 years of testing - didn't know what was being done to him or by who which could be considered explotiation of HM

However, when HM robbed of memory his parents were still alive and may have given consent but died years later

When HM died his brain sliced into sections yet there was nobody to give consent to this

Now been found that some of this info could have been found using brain scans of normal individuals who could give consent

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P4 - Zimbardo

Prison study also challened costs against beefits 

Key benefit - showed human behaviour could be explained in terms of situational factors such as conforming to social roles

Aimed to change the running of american prisons however there is little evidence that there was any success of this suggesting little scientific value to study

Ethical costs of study - Z fully informed Ps about what would happen but most found experience harder than anticipated 

Guards got so into their role that 5 prisoners got released early and study was stopped after 6 days instead of lasting 2 weeks 

However, Z couldn't have anticipated levels of stress and conducted debriefing sessions for years after

Aronson (1999) said that humans are resiliant and would recover well from study so it would be that the ethical costs aren't as great as originally seems

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