The role of ethics is very important in psychology as many ethical issues can arise when conducting research. As a result of deceptive, invasive and forceful research in the past, we now have strict guidelines we must follow in order to carry out any research. Research conducted on both humans and animals must abide by the “‘Code of Ethics and Conduct'” which was created by The British Psychological Society in 1985(BPS…). Similarly, research in America must abide the guidelines created by the American Psychological Association. These strict codes of conduct can protect all those who take part in research and the reputation of psychologists.
There are four main ethical principles which include respect, competence, responsibility and integrity.
Respect is one of the main ethical principles; it states that researchers must value all participants, especially those in vulnerable groups such as children. Before any research takes place, consent must be given by the participants, they must be fully informed about the research that will take place and how they can withdraw themselves from the study.
Responsibility is another main ethical principle that protects and respects the rights of all participants. Researchers must avoid harming clients otherwise it would damage the reputation of future research. When conducting research involving animals, researchers must follow the highest standards of animal welfare and have minimal suffering and distress. In addition, researchers must weigh out the interests of research and the potential harm it could cause.
Studies as early as 1920, called the Little Albert study was famous for its damaging effects it had on its only participant. In the world today, this sort of study would never be allowed and is no longer seen as acceptable.