Dealing with Ethical Issues with Human Participants

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             The BPS guidelines and ethics committees are in place to deal with ethical issues. It would be morally wrong and unprofessional to ignore these guidelines and can lead to expulsion from research, however they are not legally binding and not all are members of BPS. Where it is not possible to gain informed consent, the BPS offers other methods to get around it, these can be regarded as 'loop-holes'. 

With vulnerable participants, consent must be obtained from parents, those in loco parentis or an ethics committee; vulnerable participants include children or adults with mental health issues.  

Ethics committees are introduced to determine whether research is justified with deception, however, the decision that they make is subjective and can vary depending on which committee is approached. Furthermore, it is impossible to know what the potential benefits and damage will be for the participants before research is carried out. In Milgram's study, participants were expected to withdraw relatively early in the study, so it was not expected that they would become distressed. 

Aronson suggests a responsibility to wider society and


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