Take for example a study in which a person has to take an IQ test, that returns the result that they have below average intelligence.This could be embarrassing for the participants and may lead them to want to withdraw. Ensuring that your results are anonymous and also confidential follows the ethical code put forth by the British Psychological Society.
They lack 'cognitive support' for the value which means that they tend to behave in accordance with the value only when it is relatively easy to do so.
Levels of value-consistent behaviour can be increased by providing an opportunity for people to develop their cognitive support for the value.
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.
We strictly adhered to the Guidelines from the British Psychological Society (external website).
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These state that deception should only take place where (a) it is essential to achieve the research results required and where the research objective has strong scientific merit, (b) there is an appropriate risk management and harm alleviation strategy, (c) it is not likely to lead to discomfort, anger or objections among participants when revealed, (d) the study is designed in such a way that it protects the dignity and autonomy of participants.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.One of the key ethical issues with these studies was the use of deception, ie participants were actively misinformed about the purpose of the research or procedures (as opposed to simply being told that certain details would be withheld until the debrief).Deception is viewed as problematic for a number of reasons: participants may feel upset upon learning that they have been deceived; participants may not have consented to take part in the research had they been aware of its true purpose; the deception may undermine trust in the discipline, which may make it difficult for researchers to collect valid data in the future.This is important because some participants may feel pressured into continuing with the study.It is also important because it prevents the participants from feeling embarrassed about their results.The deception employed in the studies was considered necessary since describing the true purpose of the research/procedures would prime participants to think about health and/or invalidate the measures.To minimise the potential risk of harm, we used an interactive verbal debrief in which we explained the deception and the reasoning behind it.However, that being said, researchers can do their upmost to prevent any undue stress for their participants.Giving participants the right to withdraw does not just informing them that they can leave the study , but also informing them that they have the right to withdraw their results from the study at any time.