WJEC A2 Psychology- Controversies, Ethical Costs of Conducting Research

5.0 (1 review)
1 / 7
Ethical issues
Click the card to flip 👆
Terms in this set (7)
Valid consent
Psychological harm
Physical harm
Right to withdraw
Conflict between the needs of researchers to produce research that benefits society and the needs of individual participants who have a right to be treated fairly. Psychologists have a responsibility, participants have rights.
Research into psychoactive drugs is important to the effective treatment of mental disorders. McCrone report 2008 found the direct cost of mental health issues in England is 22.5 billion per year. Drug therapy is important for reducing costs. Bowlby's 1944 research illustrates the importance of emotional care in early child development. UNICEF research has continued to influence developmental policies in ensuring that children group up as productive members of society, thereby improving the world economy. Before this research it was believed that emotional care was not needed, only physical care.
Research depends on individuals who are willing to take part. The welfare of these individuals is worthy of equal consideration to the potential benefits to wider society. Milgram 1963 looked at the behaviour of Nazis int he holocaust. The harm caused to his Ps needs to be considered. His findings have had an enourmous impact on how obedience is viewed, and people are shocked by the extent to which we are willing to harm others. Some of Milgram's Ps sid participation taght them an important lesson in life. One P said being debriefed was not enough, and couldn't undo the fact he acted in the way he did. The experience also caused him to re-evaluate his life, having realised his vulnerability to authority, and got confidence to come out as a gay man.
Did a study on Little Albert- this study was of major significance in showing that emotions cold be learned through the principles of classical conditioning. This suggested it was possible to shape feelings through psychotherapy. Albert was subjected to psychological harm which may have lasted a lifetime- was never able to be debriefed, and he may have had a lifelong aversion to animals.
There could be instances whereby not conducting research could result in negative outcomes for society. Sieber and Stanley 1988 found that asking a research question may be damaging to members of a particular racial group or sexual orientation because it appears to add scientific credibility to prevailing prejudice. E.g. racial differences in IQ- bitch test and is homosexuality inherited? There are always some social consequences to participation in research, but with socially sensitive research, the potential for a more direct impact on the participant's family, co-workers, or the group that the participant represents e.f women is increased.
To avoid socially sensitive research? This may leave psychologists with nothing to investigate than an unimportant issue. Sieber and Stanley think avoiding controversial topics is an avoidance of responsibility. Psychologists should take responsibility for their findings. This could offer scientific basis for prejudice. What do we do?
Development of ethical guidelines monitor standards of behaviour for their group. BPS guidelines in Britain have 4 core principles of respect, competence, responsibility, integrity. Instructions about what is appropriate. Associations in other countries have their own code. In Canada the CPS emphasises ethical decision making. A criticism of ethical guidelines is that they close off discussion and following the guidelines stops people being criticised.