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The British Psychological Society (BPS) and the American Psychological Association (APA) have provided an ethical framework for psychologists to attempt to adhere to when conducting psychological research.If you are taking an a-level psychology exam, or conducting psychological research, it is important to know these ethical principles.The ‘informed’ part of this ethical principle is the most important part.It is no use to gain consent from participants when they are not informed about the true nature of the study. The participants were told that they would be participating in research on memory and learning, and they consented to take part based on that knowledge.The majority of the time this is to prevent demand characteristics, which can confound upon the results and conclusions of the study.Deception however, is against the ethical standards set by the British Psychological Association.Debriefing is conducted with the participants after the study has taken place. Firstly, it aims to ensure that none of the participants have been harmed in any way by the study.Secondly, it aims to make sure that the researchers have informed consent.
Finally, it allows the participants to ask any questions about the study to make sure they fully understand the content of it.
In Psychology some of the most contested issues are ethical issues.
Many of the greatest psychological studies have been hugely unethical. One of the problems one encounters when conducting psychological research is considering the extent to which the research depends upon being unethical.
No one outside of the experiment—and ideally in the experiment too—should be able to identify the participants from the results.
For any research to be ethical, the researcher must have gained informed consent from the participants.