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Watson and Raynor 1920 conducted what is considered to be one of the most ethically questionable studies in the history of psychological research The infamous Little Albert study was conducted in order to see whether the conditioning of a subject could induce phobias Other ethically questionable studies include Milgram 1963 obedience studies Hofling et al 1966 obedience studies Aronson and Osherow 1980 classroom experiment Ethics distinguish between the good and the bad in human conduct Or that which is deemed acceptable in human behaviour in pursuit of certain aims or goals British Psychological Society guidelines 1978 Obviously one would think that psychologists should focus on the good however it seems that concern has been growing throughout the years that this is not always the case In the UK the British Psychological Society 1985 1990 have a code of conduct for psychologists to guide them in their research The idea being to enhance human dignity The council of the society have a series of principles which supplement this code of conduct BPS 1985 Violation of them could form the basis of disciplinary action Psychologist 1990 Psychologists face numerous ethical problems when involved in psychological investigations These include consent deception debriefing withdrawal from the investigation confidentiality and the protection of participants we will look at consent first Consent from participants is absolutely essential It is generally though that with informed consent a participant is fully aware of what they are getting themselves into Information should only be held from the participants if it is absolutely necessary ie your research cannot be carried out otherwise Unfortunately gaining consent isnt always straightforward for example some potential participants are unable to consent ie children adults with impairments and animals If this is the case then the appropriate consent should be sought out elsewhere Appropriate other sources of consent include parents family members local authorities etc In the past some psychologists have studied
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