Ethical costs Vs Scientific benefits

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Scientific benefit Vs Ethical costs

Scientific benefit:

-          In terms of psychological research scientific benefits are concerned with what we can learn about human behaviour

-          Information that can be tested and retested in order to provide solid evidence which intervention and practical applications can be created

-          Benefits can include any understanding of behaviour that can help to improve the quality of people’s lives

-          Systematic desensitisation – changing behaviour

Ethical costs

-          In psychological research they refer to a moral threshold that has been breached

-          Failing to protect pps from harm failing to gain informed consent and deception

-          Any research that places a psychological pp in a position they would not normally be in could place them at risk of ethical costs occurring

-          For example Milgram – 3 pps had seizures, many experienced psychological harm through nail biting, nervous laughter, the naive pps believed they had killed Mr Wallace

-          65 – 75% went all the way

-          Other types of ethical costs is the misuse of psychological research to persecute or discriminate against certain groups in society.


Whether what scientific psychologists can learn from psychological experiments and what we have to do to gain this information is something that is hotly argued

We question whether the individual or animal involved in research is more important than what we can learn to benefit the wider population

Or should we be asking, whether the findings of psychological research will really make a difference

The thical cost of the animal or individual in a study can sometimes be anticipated and measured accurately but the scientific benefit of such research is harder to measure


-          One scientific benefit of psychological research its potential to prevent undesirable behaviour if we can understand the reasoning behind actions then perhaps we can stop them

-          Zimbardo described the Lucifer effect to explain the evil carried out in Iraq bu Abu Ghraib

-          In his original Stanford Prison experiment he was able to show how well meaning individuals would conform to social roles that conflicted with every…


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