How do we know right from wrong, good from bad, help from hindrance, and how can we judge the behaviour of others?
Ethics are the rules and guidelines that we use to make such judgements. Often there are no clear answers, which make this subject both interesting and potentially frustrating. In this book, the authors offer readers the opportunity to develop and express their own opinions in relation to ethics in psychology.
There are many psychological studies that appear to have been harmful or cruel to the people or animals that took part in them. For example, memory researchers carried out studies on a man who had no memory for over forty years, but because he had no memory he was never able to agree to the studies. Is this a reasonable thing to do to someone? Comparative psychologist Harry Harlow found that he could create severe and lasting distress in monkeys by keeping them in social isolation. Is this a reasonable thing to do even if we find out useful things about human distress? If you were able to use psychological techniques to break someone down so that they revealed information that was useful to your government, would you do it? If so, why? If not, why not? These ethical issues are not easy to resolve and the debates continue as we encounter new dilemmas.
This book uses examples from psychological research to look at:
This book is essential reading for undergraduate and pre-undergraduate students of psychology and related subjects such as philosophy and social policy.