Examine the ethical controversies related to one method associated with the biological perspective.
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SAQ 2: Examine the ethical controversies related to one method associated with the biological perspective. One method that is used in the biological perspective is the experimental method. This method is used when investigating how biological factors contribute to behavior. One way of testing a new drug for treating a psychological disorder is by studying its effects on human participants. For example Stein looked at the effectiveness of Ritalin (Methylphenidate) on children who were diagnosed with Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). There were four groups of children and they all took different dosages of the drug, or a placebo. This is just one example where humans are tested with a drug in a psychological experiment in the biological perspective. However, there are some ethical implications of using humans that arise during such experiments. In this case, there are ethical issues in the study such as the use of children, and the fact that they can become addicted to the drug, even though they may have decided not to take it after the experiment.
For example, you cannot do an experiment for a longer amount of time, that involves the participant to stay inside the laboratory because he or she would never agree to it. That is why research that cannot be done on humans is then done on non-human animals, one reason is that the animal doesn't have to agree to the study or have the right to withdraw. One of the assumptions of the biological perspective is that the nervous system of non-human animals is similar to that of humans and therefore research done on non-human animals can be applicable to explaining behavior in humans as well. Animal research therefore can help us understand how the central nervous system works, which, according to the biological perspective, is crucial to having a full understanding of behavior. Some of these behaviors include mental illnesses, memory disorders, and drug addiction. For example Remmer did an experiment on tolerance by testing how rabbits reacted to pentobarbital treatment.
Some argue that it is all right to inflict some harm to non-human animals in order to spare the harm done to humans. Others will argue that animals should have the same rights as humans, and it is extremely unethical to inflict suffering on to them. That is why alternatives have been suggested, including the use of plants and tissue cultures. This, however, this method lacks generalizability to live animals, because plants can hardly be compared to humans. They have no nervous system and there are no psychological factors to research, they do not develop psychological disorders. Therefore there have been regulations and guidelines set up to lessen the ethical implications and the harm done to non-human animals. These include, for example, that there needs to be an independent supervisor, a veterinarian for example, present at studies done on animals. There need to be protocols kept of each of the studies specifying the conditions that the animals were kept in, the number, and if the results are completely relevant to the theory, application, and explanation of behavior.
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