Ethical Issues Using Human Participants

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             Informed consent is providing enough information to participants for them to make a decision on whether they take part. In some research, participants cannot be fully informed because it can cause a change in behaviour (demand characteristics), resulting in low internal validity. An example of this is Milgram, in this study participants weren’t told the nature of the study, therefore informed consent was not given; further research has found that if fully informed participant’s role played (as if they weren’t aware), results would be different. However, in other research such as memory, telling participants the true nature doesn’t create such bad demand characteristics as this example.

            Deception involves withholding, misleading or providing false information to participants that may influence their willingness to partake; deception in turn, removes the chances of informed consent. For example, Rosenhan’s study may have led to lower quality treatment because hospital staff were deceived about the pseudopatients, leading them to become suspicious of real patients. If participants knew about the nature


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