WJEC A2 Psychology PY3 - Ethical Issues Arising from Applications of Psychology in the Real World

Ethical issues arising from 2 applications of Psychology in the real world

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Application: Media

1. Topic One = TV Documentaries often feature 'expert psychologists' to give programmes added credibility eg Professor of Psychiatric Nursing called Kevin Gournay featured heavily on the programme 'Inside the Mind of Paul Gascoigne' (2003); suggested that Gascoigne may have been suffering from 3 mental disorders (ADHD, Tourettes, OCD) without having met him

(+) ethically sound because Gascoigne wasn't patient of Gournay's so could talk freely about him, WITHOUT breaching confidentiality codes

(-) ethically questionable because makes his conduct unprofessional; isn't a psychiatrist, and if he were, inappropriate to diagnose patient without meeting them. No alternative diagnosis or explanation of Gascoigne's behaviour provided in programme, which DECEIVES public and leaves Gascoigne with potentially unjust, damaging labels - if diagnosis correct, Gascoigne may experience worsening symptoms which causes PSYCH/PHY HARM

2. Topic Two = Educational/Reality TV programmes like 'Embarrassing Bodies (Simon Baron Cohen) and Child Of Our Time (Robert Winston)

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Application: Media

(-) Embarrassing Bodies is a programme which allows people with embarrassing problems to receive advice and help from the professionals on the programme. However it is ethically questionable because criticised for its voyeuristic nature which manipulates and controls behaviour to gain viewers (for money purposes). Also intense INVASION OF PRIVACY of potentially young and impressionable people, could ultimately lead to HARM; also LACK OF CONFIDENTIALITY of those appearing on programme

(-) Child of Our Time was a programme where children are observed and constantly on camera. INVADES PRIVACY and LITTLE CONFIDENTIALITY, also the children never had the choice of taking part or not as decision would have been made by parents = LOFIC

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Application: Military

1. Topic One = Training Soldiers to be effective - the MOD uses psych theories and techniques to make soldiers as fit and effective in battle

(+) ethically sound because training programmes have increased focus on desensitising recruits to acts of killing, increased realism of training, improve effectiveness and enhance survival to prevent causing harm

(-) ethically questionable because enhancing the survival of one set of soldiers has the inevitable consequences of decreasing survival of another set of soldiers (enemy)

2. Topic Two = Interrogation Techniques - extracting as much accurate valuable info from prisoners has been source of research, poss using psych torture or sensory deprivation eg sponsored by CIA, Hebb (1950 - 60s) found he could induce state similar to drug induced hallucinations and psychosis in 48hrs w/o drugs, hypnosis or electric shocks. For 2 days, student volunteers at McGill Uni sat in cubicle deprived of sensory stimulation by goggles gloves and earmuffs

(+) ethically sound as APA legitimises research into interrogation via costs/benefits analysis: benefit = national security, costs = effects on pps

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Application: Military

(-) ethically questionable because recent evidence suggests psychological torture/sensory deprivation is AS HARMFUL as physical torture - perhaps costs are more consequential than previously thought - not everyone would agree national security of state is more beneficial or important than costs to those interrogated or pps in studies - should causing harm be justified in any way even if prisoners like terrorists experience it?

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