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Experimental and Correlational Research Methods for AP Psychology (page 3)

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By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Mar 4, 2011

Ethical Guidelines

Whether involved in research or practice, psychologists need to act responsibly and morally. Studies conducted by Harry Harlow involving rhesus monkeys separated from their mothers and subjected to frightening conditions, studies by Phil Zimbardo involving students role-playing prisoners and guards, and studies conducted by Stanley Milgram in which participants believed they were delivering painful electric shocks to another person were highly publicized in the 1960s and 1970s. Following Milgram's experiments, members of the American Psychological Association strengthened their ethical guidelines regarding research design, implementation, and practice; and other groups adopted similar guidelines. The guidelines prevent unnecessary deception and pain to humans and other animals, and protect confidentiality.

All public and most private institutions have Institutional Review Boards (IRB) that must approve of all research conducted within their institutions. Boards specifically protect participants by requiring researchers to obtain signed informed consent agreements from all participants. These statements describe procedures, risks, benefits, and the right of the participant not to participate or to withdraw from the research study without penalty at any time. Research participants cannot be deceived about significant aspects that would affect their willingness to participate. After the participant finishes his or her part or research is completed, participants are debriefed about the research (i.e., the nature, results, and conclusions of the research are revealed).

Psychologists who conduct research involving other animals must treat them humanely; acquire, care for, use and dispose of animals properly; and make efforts to minimize their discomfort, infection, illness, and pain.

Practice questions for this study guide can be found at:

Research Methods Review Questions for AP Psychology

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