• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the use of animals in psychological research

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the problems that Psychologists have faced when attempting to define a set of ethical guidelines for research using human participants. The main dilemma faced by psychologists is that it is often difficult to balance the scientific validity of experiments, with the need to protect the rights and integrity of their participants. A number of issues emerge: how far should psychologists go in trying to further their knowledge? Do the ends justify the means? Do we have a responsibility to predict the potential stress and harm to individuals (or society in the case of socially sensitive research). The BPS (1993) has published ethical guidelines for conducting research with human participants and while, many of the research covered here is either American or earlier than these guidelines, they give us a focus for discussion. One of the most problematic guidelines is that of DECEPTION - the BPS suggests that participants shouldn't be deliberately mislead except when scientifically necessary. This causes a number of problems: social psychological research (like Asch's conformity studies or Milgram on obedience) ...read more.


The right to WITHDRAWAL from the investigation at any time must also be considered. In Milgram's study the participants were firmly obliged to continue through what he called 'verbal prompting' while in Zimbardo's prison simulation, one of the key parts of the experiment was denying the right to withdraw. Both of these could perhaps be justified on scientific grounds. Zimbardo discontinued the experiment as soon as real stress began to tell to his participants and Milgram argued that prompting was designed to simulate the conditions inside some of the Death Camps during the Holocaust - i.e. it was meant to be forceful. Others have argued that any payment of money may lead to participants feeling they cannot withdraw, though the BPS guidelines state this should not be the case. PROTECTION OF PARTICIPANTS is a key issue. Baumrind criticised Milgram for failing to protect his subjects from stress and discomfort (one even had a seizure), while Bandura's experiment using the Bobo doll was criticised for forming aggressive behaviour in children. As an answer to Baumrind's criticisms, Milgram demonstrated that extensive DEBRIEFING (a key ethical stipulation in itself), was undergone and a ...read more.


private houses, toilets etc) , but this is ambiguous. While walking down a street we would expect to be seen, we would not expect to be specifically observed. Using Participant Observation as a technique has been argued by some as a grave misuse of trust, since it involves deception on a grand scale. The final issue to be considered is that of prediction. Milgram and Zimbardo claimed they did not predict the outcomes of their research, but should they be required to? Milgram continued to do variations of his experiments over a number of years and so could hardly claim not to have had specific hypotheses in mind. Likewise, one of the chief reasons behind Zimbardo's research was the damaging and alienating effects of Deindividuation, and the fact that it was partially funded by the US Navy makes it seem that at least some of the effects could have been predicted. On the other hand, others have argued that it is precisely because of these adverse effects that the studies are valid, that only studies that cause anxiety or discomfort are truly useful contributions to human knowledge. The end justifies the means, seems to be the theme here. 905 words ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level The Psychology of Individual Differences section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level The Psychology of Individual Differences essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Behavioural Study of Obedience - Stanley Milgram

    5 star(s)

    A draw is fixed so that the real subject plays the part of the teacher. The victim is strapped into a chair. His wrists are covered with an electrode paste, and electrodes are placed upon the paste. The subject (teacher)

  2. Consider the Problems Faced by Psychologists in the Definition of Abnormality

    In every culture, although there are a set of social norms, deviation from these are not necessarily indications of psychological abnormality. Some people may deviate but merely be classed as having a slight eccentric character (they won't cause harm to themselves or others, this is simply an idiosyncrasy)

  1. Free essay

    Discuss the range of methods available to the psychologist.

    For the study I would use random sampling as it removes bias and would make the experiment more effective. When conducting a psychological study you must always take into consideration the ethical implications of whatever is being done. All psychologists whether you are a student or a professional have to stick to a strict set of guidelines.

  2. An Investigation into the effects of race on the perception of Guilt.

    Structure . My hypothesis is that a white person will be more likely to find a black man guilty of a crime. My methodology is an experiment due to its independent and dependent variables. * Independent Variable: - Is a picture shown and is it of a black or a white man.

  1. The Perils of Obedience, By Stanley Milgram

    When a switch is depressed, a pilot light corresponding to each switch is illuminated in bright red; an electric buzzing is heard; a blue light, labelled "voltage energiser," flashes; the dial on the voltage meter swings to the right; and various relay clicks sound off.

  2. The contents of this essay will explain different psychological approaches to health and social ...

    This is a strength of the perspective, as using scientific methods gives added status to psychology. In addition, the principles of behaviourism have been tested mainly on animals. Such findings may not apply totally to human behaviour, which is much more complex (Stretch et al, 2010).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work