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Ethics and Deception in Psychological Research

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Deception in Psychological Research Briana Conner University of Phoenix PSYCH/540 Research Methodology Dr. Neil Stafford April 16, 2012 When conducting research studies many code of ethics come into play. A researcher has an obligation to follow the code of ethics. Many ethical standards must be followed when dealing with research. When conducting research as well as gathering data there are several ways to do so. Depending on whom you ask some ways are considered ethical and appropriate and some are unethical and inappropriate. Using deception to obtain information is a debatable issue on whether it is ethical or unethical by obtaining data in such a manner. The following paper will define what ethics is along with, discussing the concept of risk/benefit ratio, describing exactly what deception in research is, as well as evaluating the impact deception in research has on psychological research. Deception occurs whenever participants are not completely informed of procedures and goals of the research. ...read more.


No matter how small a risk may be, researchers should try to minimize the risks and protect each individual. When there happens to be a potential risk, researchers need to use informed consent procedures for all participants involved (Shaughnessy, Zechmeister, & Zechmeister, 2009). Informed consent is a legal condition whereby a person can be said to have given consent based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the facts, implications and future consequences of an action. In order to give informed consent, the individual concerned must have adequate reasoning faculties and be in possession of all relevant facts at the time consent is given. Impairments to reasoning and judgment which would make it impossible for someone to give informed consent include such factors as severe mental retardation, severe mental illness, intoxication, severe sleep deprivation, Alzheimer's disease, or being in a coma. (http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Informed_consent). "Researchers are ethically obligated to describe the research procedures clearly, identify any potential risks that might influence individuals' willingness to participate, and answer any questions participants have regarding the research (Shaughnessy, Zechmeister, & Zechmeister, 2009).There are several ways to gather data and information on a research or study. ...read more.


Miligram wouldn't have come to the conclusions he did if he didn't misrepresent himself to the participants. If Miligram told the 40 men what he was doing the participants probably would not have cooperated with him. Deception and misrepresenting oneself for psychological research is very controversial and has a huge impact on research today. Deception has caused a great deal of harm to subjects all around the world, due to this informed consent has been put into place. The subjects are not aware of the real reasons of the study due to misrepresentation. When it's all said and done, ethics is a big issue in conducting studies and research. Researchers are held accountable while conducting these studies and the have an obligation to follow the code of ethics during them. I personally feel that any type of deception should be labeled as unethical and should not be used. Furthermore, there are individuals that feel it is okay to use deception as long as it doesn't cause any harm to the individuals. Ethics is a large part of conducting research and every researcher needs to conduct himself in an ethical manner. ...read more.

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