DANCEST 805 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Nuremberg Code, Lumbar Puncture, Syphilis

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25 Sep 2020
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Research Methods in Psychology: Evaluating a World
of Information (3rd edition) Beth Morling
Chapter 4
4. Ethical guidelines for psychology research
→ this chapter introduces the criteria for evaluating whether a set of research was conducted
appropriately.
Historical examples
The Tuskegee syphilis study demonstrates three major ethics violations. In 10930
35% of poor black men has syphilis which means they couldn't work etc. the only
treatment was infusions of toxic metals ( dangerous). U.s public health service
cooperated with Tuskegee ( Alabama) institute began a study of 600 black men, 400
W syphilis and 200 WO. Researchers observed men infected with syphilis until each
one dies to obtain data on how the disease progresses when left untreated. They
were never given beneficial treatment, just painful spinal taps they were told was a
special free treatment” they then couldn't register in the army or get G.I benefits for
sick people who could not join, researchers just kept them sick without treatment.
The families pursued a lawsuit against the Us government ( bill Clinton's family) and
won.
Unethical choices Tuskegee: 1.the men were not treated respectfully, researchers
lied about the nature of the participation ( withheld information such as penicillin as a
cure), thus the mend did not get to make fully informed decisions about participating
in the study. 2. The men were harmed, they and their families were not told about the
treatment available for the disease, subjected to painful and dangerous tests. 3.
Researchers targeted a disadvantaged social group ( poor African American).
Milgram obedience studies: demonstrated a difficult ethical balance. Teacher and
learner and when the learner makes a mistake you give them an electric shock.
Experimenter in a white coat tells you to “continue” 65% went to a fatal level. If told
the man had a heart condition it made no difference when learner say in the room
with them obedience dropped to 40%. Instructor saying “ the experiment requires you
to continue” over a phone dropped obedience to 20%.
Ethical and unethical choices of Milgram: trying to balance the potential risk to the
participant and the value of knowledge. The study was very stressful to the “ teacher”
participants. However participants were debriefed ( informed about the hypothesis)
afterward, were told the learner was fine but not told that he did not receive any
shocks as to not influence future studies with other participants. Interviews years
later some participants reported working for weeks about the learner's welfare.
Milgram knew how stressful it was and did not modify the procedure. On the flip side
we learned a lot about obedience as only 1-2% were predicted to obey the
experimenter up to 450 volts, could we have learned this without his research.
Core ethical principles
World war 2 and nazi-occupied europe resulted in the ten point Nuremberg Code of
ethical research laws.
Many nations have signed the declaration of Helsinki, which guides ethics in medical
research and practice.
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Research Methods in Psychology: Evaluating a World
of Information (3rd edition) Beth Morling
The US follows the Belmont report which defines the ethical guidelines of research (
1976). A commision of physicians, ethicists, philosophers, scientists and other
citizens gathered at the Belmont conference discussing ethical principles when
researching with human participants, partly influences by the Tuskegee syphilis
study. It includes the principle of respect for persons, and informed consent, no
coercion ( pressure to participate).
The principle of respect for persons: includes two provisions in the Belmont report, 1)
individuals potentially involved in research should be treated as autonomous agents,
free to make up their own minds. Meaning they are entitled to informed consent (the
aim of the research, risk, and benefits). Nor may they be coerced or unduly
influenced into participating . Especially in the case of money because poor
individuals may find the incentive to attractive to refuse. 2) some people have less
autonomy so they are entitled to special protection when it comes to informed
consent ( children, developmental disabilities)
A principle of beneficence: in the Belmont report. Researchers must take precautions
to protect participants from harm, they must carefully assess the risk and benefits of
their study, in addition to the well being of the community ( will the community gain
from the knowledge).
Guidelines for psychologists: the APA ethical principles
American psychological association, the ethical principles of psychologists and code
of conduct. These guidelines govern the three most common roles of psychologists:
research scientists, educators, and practitioners( usually therapists)
APA’s five general principles: Also known as Belmont plus two, these principles are
meant to protect not only research participants but also students in psychology
classes and clients of professional therapists. Principles A, D and E are identical to
the three main principles of the Belmont report ( beneficence, justice, and respect for
persons), the other two principles are fidelity and responsibility. ( e.g a clinical
psychologist teaching in a university may not serve as a therapist of her students,and
psychologists must avoid secual relationships with students or clients. The last one is
integrity ( e.g professors are obligated to teach accurately, and therapists are
required to stay current on not evidence and techniques).
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Document Summary

Chapter 4: ethical guidelines for psychology research. This chapter introduces the criteria for evaluating whether a set of research was conducted appropriately. The tuskegee syphilis study demonstrates three major ethics violations. 35% of poor black men has syphilis which means they couldn"t work etc. the only treatment was infusions of toxic metals ( dangerous). U. s public health service cooperated with tuskegee ( alabama) institute began a study of 600 black men, 400. Researchers observed men infected with syphilis until each one dies to obtain data on how the disease progresses when left untreated. The families pursued a lawsuit against the us government ( bill clinton"s family) and won. The men were harmed, they and their families were not told about the treatment available for the disease, subjected to painful and dangerous tests. Researchers targeted a disadvantaged social group ( poor african american). Milgram obedience studies: demonstrated a difficult ethical balance.

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