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PSY 36 Lecture Notes 2-3-2014.docx

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Tufts University
Keith Maddox

Ethical Considerations in Social Psychology Experiments PSY 149 - Notes 3 February 2014 I. Ethical concerns in social psychology a. Use of human participants b. Use of deception II. Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) a. Review proposed methodologies for any research involving human participants or animal subjects i. Perform a cost/benefit analysis to determine whether a research project should be conducted ii. Focus on ethical considerations balanced with scientific merit b. The imperative for researchers is to: i. Minimize costs to participants ii. Maximize benefits to participants, science, and society III. Cost-benefit analysis a. Determine the magnitude of potential costs relative to the potential benefits i. Costs 1. Physical or Psychological Harm ii. Benefits 1. Participant 2. Scientific 3. Societal IV. Participant selection and incentives a. Justify the focus on your participant population i. Place the burden to those most likely to benefit ii. Find the least vulnerable population iii. Be wary of use of convenient “captive” populations 1. Students, Children, Prisoners, Poor, Sick b. Avoid coercive incentives i. Rewards that take advantage of participants’circumstances V. Informed Consent a. Provision of adequate details about the purpose, procedures, and risks associated with a study to allow a judgment about whether to participate i. Purpose and tasks ii. Privacy and confidentiality iii. Freedom to refuse/discontinue/withdraw iv. Compensation v. Contact information b. What is adequate? i. If deception is necessary, the informed consent can be somewhat vague VI. Why social psychologist deceive a. To create effective manipulations i. Internal validity b. To encourage natural responses i. External validity c. At what cost? i. Negative physical or psychological consequences for the participant d. For what benefit i. To enhance our understanding of psychological processes VII. How social psychologists deceive a. Two types i. Deception of Omission 1. Aspects of the study left out ii. Active Deception 1. Misled about aspects of the study b. Consequences i. Negative affect and distrust from being lied to ii. Perseverance effects of discredited information/feedback VIII. Debriefing: What is it? a. Thorough explanation of all aspects of study i. Review 1. Original instructions and stated goals ii. Reveal 1. Nature of deception (if applicable) iii. Justify 1. Costs and benefits of methodology IX. Debriefing: When does it occur? a. Right after testing i. Ensures that participants leave study wi
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