Presentation on theme: "1 Ethics This lecture is not covered by Terre Blanche Ethics: rules by which researchers prevent themselves from doing evil in research What evil can be."— Presentation transcript:
1 Ethics This lecture is not covered by Terre Blanche Ethics: rules by which researchers prevent themselves from doing evil in research What evil can be done in research? Physical pain, psychological harm, kill, maim, lie, force people to steal, make people believe that they have killed All of these have been commited by psychological researchers in the past – evil or not?
2 Absolute and relative ethics Two types of ethical positions: Relative: We can commit evil acts, so long as there is a greater good to be gained from commiting them Absolute: No evil act is permissible, regardless of the consequences
3 An ethical dilemma Thousands are dying of AIDS each day. You discover a vaccine for children that you think works, but you are not sure. The only way to establish it is to infect 100 children with the AIDS virus. If you are correct, all the children except for those 100 will be saved. Should you proceed?
4 Analysis of the dilemma Relative position: do it – you will save far more than 100 Absolute: you have caused the deaths of 100 children
5 Second dilemma You are researching if solitary confinement can be used to rehabilitate rapists. You discover that after being placed in solitary confinement, a prisoner will never rape again. However, the confinement causes extreme psychological pain and results in effective mental retardation. Do you recommend solitary confinement as a way to eradicate rape?
6 Analysis Relative position: each rapist can rape many women. Therefore, although a few rapists suffer, we can prevent the suffering of many women Absolute position: To cause suffering is never acceptable. To confine this way makes us as evil as the rapist.
7 Ethical dilemmas Always difficult, each position will always have a reasonable stand – no “silver bullet” APA has ethics guidelines for psychologists Prevent malpractice suits These guidelines would never have allowed some of the most important findings in psychology Think about each dilemma yourself – only you will have to live with the consequences of your own actions!