Unit 4: Ethical Issues in Psychological Research
The most famous example is Stanley Milgram’s series of experiments on obedience. In Milgram’s experiments, research participants suffered tremendous mental stress for believing that they had inflicted pain on other people. They had unknowingly submitted themselves to the power of obedience to an authority.
Another classic example is the Stanford Prison Study (Haney, Banks, & Zimbardo, 1973; described in most introductory psychology textbooks; also available online at http://www.prisonexp.org). College student participants were asked to role-play either prisoner or guard in a highly realistic experiment. The participants got so involved in their roles that the study had to be terminated after only a few days because of a concern for the well-being of the participants.
Minimal risk. Informed Consent. Confidentiality. Privacy. Deception. Debriefing. Use of Animals. Plagiarism.
(a. the researcher’s personal responsibility for making a careful assessment of the ethical acceptability of the research, taking into consideration scientific and humane values
b. a shared responsibility among all research team members
c. informed consent
d. use of deception only when justified
e. freedom to withdraw from participation
f. a clear and fair agreement between researcher and participants as to the responsibilities of each
g. protection from physical or mental stress
ensuring a positive experience (e.g., clarification of purpose of study at the end of study)
h.removal of any harmful consequences
i. confidentiality of information about participants)
b. Responsible Caring
c. Integrity in Relationships
d. Responsibility to Society
Standards are set for laboratory animal facilities, laboratory animal care, experimental animal surgical procedure, the use of anesthesia, and euthanasia.
These guidelines are to be followed by researchers affiliated with Athabasca University, as stated in the University’s Animal Care Policy (2004).
The issue of using animals in behavioural and biomedical research has stimulated heated debates and violent protests, and experimental psychology has been considered particularly offensive by animal rights activists.
The animal rights movement has had a significant impact on animal research and on the teaching of certain areas of psychology (Herzog, 1990). Herzog (2005) proposes guidelines for discussing the use of animals.
These guidelines address such issues as communicating with students, dealing with students who object to using animals, working with student researchers, working with faculty members and administrators, and communicating with the public and the media in the midst of the animal research controversy.
Is animal welfare the same as animal rights?
Should animals have the same rights as humans?
Is animal research essential to our advancement of knowledge?
What is humane treatment and what is not?
Using language that is reasonably understandable to that person except when conducting activities without consent mandated by law or governmental regulation.
Legally incapable people must still provide an appropriate explanation
2) seek individual’s assent
3) Consider person’s preferences and personal interests
4) obtain permission from appropriate legal guardian.
Psyc services court order – inform individual if this is the case.
Appropriately document written and oral consent, permission and assent (def: willingness to participate in a study).
a. Don’t conduct study involving deception unless you have determined the use of deception techniques is justified by the study’s significant prospective scientific that non deceptive alternative procedures are not feasible.
b. Do not deceive prospective participants about research that is reasonably expected to cause pain.
c. Explain deception as early as feasible. Preferable at conclusion of participation. NO later than conclusion of data collection.
A.Provide opportunity for participants to obtain appropriate information about the nature, results, and conclusion of the research.
B. If have to delay take reasonable measures to reduce risk of harm.
C. When research becomes aware that research results harmed a participant take reasonable steps to minimize the harm.
Every university where research involving human and animal subjects is conducted has set up a research ethics board to guide researchers in resolving ethical dilemmas and to monitor research activities. Agencies that award funds for research typically require researchers to have their research proposals reviewed by a research ethics board.
Certainly there are many useful things that could be garnered and justified from participants subjected to moderate pain or discomfort, but many ethical issues become relevant when asking participants to pay higher costs.
Researchers must code sensitive data, respect people’s right not to reveal certain pieces of information about themselves, and keep in mind that there is much potential value in information that people may be reluctant to reveal.
B. Don’t deceive about expected research that may cause pain or severe emotional distress.
C. Explain any deception as early as feasible. – Preferable at end of participation but no later than conclusion of data collection from all participants.
Milgram’s procedure involved deception, psychological harm,
(The research should be expected to produce useful results and increase knowledge, which is important because there is a limited amount of money and supplies for research.
Research that is not scientifically valid wastes these resources.
Furthermore, research only results in increased knowledge if others take the results seriously.
Often researchers will not believe the results of an experiment if it does not follow the scientific method.
This means that a research study must be carefully planned to answer a specific question. There should be a hypothesis to be tested, a control, and controlled variables when appropriate.
Also, experiments must be long enough and include enough subjects to make the results convincing.
Researchers often say that good research is reproducible. This means that if other researchers did the same experiment, they would get similar results.
Sometimes a researcher hoping to get a certain result will design her research in a way that makes that result more likely.
This is known as bias, and whether it is purposeful or accidental, it is not scientifically valid.
For example, a researcher testing a new cancer drug might only choose human subjects she thinks will get better. This might make the drug look more effective than it really is. Or, a researcher testing a new drug might compare the new drug with a lower dose of an old drug. This would make the new drug look good, but it is not a useful comparison. Researchers must design their experiments to avoid conscious or unconscious bias.
b. INDEPENDENT REVIEW
c. MINIMAL RISK
d. UNDUE INDUCEMENT
g. DATA INTEGRITY)
As a result, even the most careful researchers might overlook ways they could improve their research to make it more consistent with ethical principles or other requirements for research.
For example, they might make the study riskier than it needs to be or might target only subjects who are easy to talk into participating. To avoid such problems, a group of people who are not connected to the research are required to give it an independent review.
Elements of Informed Consent: • Competence • Disclosure • Understanding • Voluntariness
A research burden can be the time it takes people to participate or the inconvenience or discomfort it causes them.
risks should be outweighed by the benefits society gets from the study — the social value of the research.