Ethical Considerations

You need to be able to describe, apply and evaluate the BPS ethical guidelines, about the use of humans in psychological research. The guidelines include differing types of consent, deception, right to withdraw, protection from physical and psychological harm, debriefing of participants and competence. 
This brief PowerPoint introduces the issues: ethics ppt
The BPS updated code of ethics: code_of_human_research_ethics-2012-update
2009 version:

Click here for descriptions with examples of five ethical guidlines: five-ethical-guidelines-model-answers

Further reading: This article by Patry (2001) is about deception in social psychological research and refers to Milgram and Diana Baumrind. It contains a clear description of presumptive consent, general prior consent and proxy consent; three possible alternatives to gaining fully informed consent. Some bits are rather complex but others far more accessible; use the bits you understand! You will need this article to help with the HW: kriterion-2001-14-34-38-patry-1

Here is the article by Diana Baumrind: baumrind

We will also be using the ethics notebook which can be found on google drive to help make notes for this section.
We will be completing the following worksheets/activities to test your understanding of ethics:
Here is the HW sheet: ethics-flipped-tasks


Wider reading: 

Assessment Questions
a. The following four statements about British Psychological Society (BPS) ethical guidelines are either true or false.
  1. Participants have the right to withdraw at any point during a study
  2. If there is deception then a thorough debriefing may make the study more ethical
  3. An experiment never goes ahead until fully informed consent has been obtained
  4. A researcher who does not understand the implications of their study is still competent.
c. Regis is a registered psychologist who carried out an experiment. In order to avoid demand characteristics, he did not tell his participants what the experiment was actually about until his debrief. Regis had an issue with
A informed consent
B the right to withdraw
C confidentiality
D competence
d. Fiona has designed a study to investigate whether teenage boys and girls differ in
their levels of obedience to an authority figure, compared to people in their mid-twenties. She recruited her samples from a local college by asking people to
volunteer to take part. The study will include an interview and participation in
a short experiment. Explain how Fiona could ensure she adopts good ethical practice with reference to two ethical guidelines.

1. Name the four ethical principles (4)
2. Name as may ethical guidelines as you can (1 mark per point)
3. Name as many ethical safeguards as you can (1 mark per point)
4. Name two ways that a psychologist can be supported with ethical decision-making?
5. Zoe decides to conduct a study on obedience at the Spinnaker Tower. She decides to either dress in an outfit similar to the Tower staff o in casual clothes. She thinks it might be interesting to observe the visitors and if anyone leans on the glass walls to ask them to refrain from doing so. She will then retreat and another observer in casual clothes will not down whether the people lean on the glass again once Zoe has gone.
a. Explain two ethical issues presented by Zoe’s research proposal. (3+3)
b. Ethics committees help psychologists with ethical decision-making and may suggest alterations to the design that can make a project more ethical. Explain one alteration that the ethics committee might suggest to Zoe. (3)