PSYC 2030 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: General Idea, Demand Characteristics

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Published on 15 Apr 2013
York University
PSYC 2030
of 2
Lecture 3
o Ethics is understood as referring to conduct that is considered morally right or morally wrong as
specified by codified and culturally ingrained principles, constrains, rules, and guidelines.
o Branch of philosophy dealing with values and motives
o The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or group of persons
The APA Code of Ethics
o Five principles
o Respect for persons and their autonomy (independence or freedom)
o Obligation not to do psychological or physical harm and to strive to do research that is
meaningful or potentially beneficial in advancing knowledge or wellbeing
o Pursuit and promotion of justice
o Establishment of a relationship of trust between researchers and research participants
o Fidelity to professional responsibilities, scientific integrity, and accountability
Ethical Standards
o Boundaries of Competence
o Psychologists provide services only within the boundaries of their competence, based on
their education, etc.
o Psychologists planning to provide services new to them undertake relevant education,
o Delegation of Work to Others
o Psychologists who delegate work to others or who use the services of others take
reasonable steps to avoid delegating work to persons who have a multiple relationship
with those being served, and authorize only responsibilities that such persons can be
expected to perform competently on basis of whatever.
o Informed consent to research
o The researcher tells prospective participants about the study and obtains their written
agreement to participate
o There are situations in which informed consent is unnecessary or impossible, such as
archival studies that use public records
o Typically given a form that describes
Nature of study
Potential risk
Voluntary nature of their cooperation and their freedom to withdraw at any
time without prejudice or consequence
o Person then signs a second form to indicate that he or she understands the nature and
purpose of the research and is willing to participate
o Privacy and Confidentiality
o Confidentiality implies that participants’ disclosures will be protected against
unwarranted access
o This may have the effect of eliciting more open and honest disclosures in some
o In government-funded biomedical and behavioural research, it may be possible for the
researcher to obtain a “certificate of confidentiality”: a formal agreement that requires
the researcher to keep the individual disclosures confidential
o Deception in Research and Debriefing
o Deception: participants are misled or wrongly informed about the aims of the research
o This is sometimes necessary in order to avoid demand characteristics
o Participants must be deceived as little as possible, and any deception must not cause
o Debrief: participants must be given a general idea of what the researcher was
investigating and why
o The purpose of such a debriefing is to remove any misconceptions and anxieties the
participants may have, so that their sense of dignity remains intact and they do not feel
that their time has been wasted
o Debriefing sessions are considered ethically essential in many research situations, but
sometimes a debriefing may be either impossible or inadvisable