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PSYB01H3 (585)
Anna Nagy (283)
Chapter 3

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Anna Nagy

Chapter 3Ethical ResearchMilgrams Obedience ExperimentStanley Milgram conducted a series of experiments to study the phenomenon of obedience to authority He placed an ad in the newspaper offering to pay 450 to males to participate in a study of memory and learning In reality it was an experiment to see how much of a shock participants would administer to Mr Wallace the learner when he got a question wrong because they were told to by authorityWhen the teachers shocked Mr Wallace with about 120 volts Mr Wallace began screaming in pain and eventually yelled that he wanted out What if the teacher wanted to quit This is what happenedthey became visibly upset by the pain Mr Wallace was experiencing but the scientist urged them to continue using a specific series of verbal prods Approximately 65 of the participants continued to deliver shocks all the way to 450volts This study received a great deal of publicity and has been applied to many instances such as the Holocaust But what about the ethics of this experimentThe Belmont ReportCurrent ethical guidelines for both behavioral and medical researchers have their origins in The Belmont Report Ethical Principles and guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research This report defined principles and applications that have guided more detailed regulations and the American Psychology Association Ethics CodeThe three basic ethical principles are beneficence respect for persons autonomy and justiceThe associated applications of these principles are assessment of risks and benefits informed consent and selection of subjectsAssessment of Risks and BenefitsThe principle of benefice refers to the need for research to maximize benefits and minimize any possible harmful effects of participation Riskbenefit analysiswe must calculate potential risks and benefits that are likely to result from the experiment Ethical principals require asking whether the research procedures have minimized risk to participants Potential risks include factors such as psychological or physical harm and loss of confidentialityThe cost of not conducting the study if in fact the proposed procedure is the only way to collect potentially valuable data can be consideredThe benefits include direct benefits to the participants ie educational benefits material benefits ie money or less tangible benefits ie being a part of a scientific experiment that has the potential to benefit society Current regulations concerning the conduct of research with human participants requires a riskbenefit analysis before research can be approved Risks in Psychological Research Some potentially stressful research procedures are as followsPhysical HarmProcedures that could cause potential harm to a participant are rare but exist nonetheless Many medical procedures fall in this category ie administering a drugThe risks require that great care be taken to make them ethically acceptable and there would need to be clear benefits of the research that would outweigh potential risksStress
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