22.12.2020

Category: Deception in research pros and cons

Deception in research pros and cons

One of the key requirements that researchers conducting studies with human subjects must meet is that they obtain the informed consent of the participating subjects or of a parent or guardian, if the subject is not able to give informed consent himself or herself.

However, there are particular instances where giving the subjects complete information about the study at the outset may change the outcome of the study -- namely, it may make it practically impossible to measure what the research is trying to measure.

If these studies are not to be ruled out completely, doing them necessitates some amount of deception or concealment, which seems to be at odds with the need to establish informed consent. Of course, there are ethical guidelines for dealing with studies that require deception. But recently a reader emailed me about a particular study where there might have been concealment that was an impediment to informed consent rather than a methodological requirement of the study.

Faculty members are solicited to participate in a sociological study of networking within their academic departments. Indeed, a university administrator strongly encourages faculty members to participate in the research by noting that the data it collects is expected to bolster a grant application geared toward funding "institutional transformations". The information provided to prospective subjects on the consent form makes no mention of using the results of this study to secure further grants.

Some of the faculty who are being solicited to participate in the present study have objections to the sorts of "institutional transformations" promoted by the grant program mentioned in the administrator's encouragement to participate. Is the failure to mention this intended use of the study results in the consent forms a violation of informed consent? Except in minimal-risk research, the investigator establishes a clear and fair agreement with research participants, prior to their participation, that clarifies the obligations and responsibilities of each.

deception in research pros and cons

The investigator has the obligation to honor all promises and commitments included in that agreement. The investigator informs the participants of all aspects of the research that might reasonably be expected to influence willingness to participate and explains all other aspects of the research about which the participants inquire. Failure to make full disclosure prior to obtaining informed consent requires additional safeguards to protect the welfare and dignity of the research participants.

Methodological requirements of a study may make the use of concealment or deception necessary. Before conducting such a study, the investigator has a special responsibility to 1 determine whether the use of such techniques is justified by the study's prospective scientific, educational, or applied value; 2 determine whether alternative procedures are available that do not use concealment or deception; and 3 ensure that the participants are provided with sufficient explanation as soon as possible.

After the data are collected, the investigator provides the participant with information about the nature of the study and attempts to remove any misconceptions that may have arisen.

Where scientific or humane values justify delaying or withholding this information, the investigator incurs a special responsibility to monitor the research and to ensure that there are no damaging consequences for the participant.

Item 4 here covers informed consent. Part of what one owes human subjects of one's research is an explanation of the purpose of the research and of what, specifically, participation in it will involve. This is to give the potential subjects enough information reasonably to exercise their autonomy in deciding whether to participate in the research or not. Item 5 deals with instances where disclosing particular details such as what exactly it is you're studying is itself likely to affect the subjects' behavior and contaminate the results.

deception in research pros and cons

In such cases, the researchers have extra obligations to the subjects to offset the harms of not fully disclosing the details ahead of time. The first two of these responsibilities must actually be discharged prior to the study -- namely, making sure the value of the knowledge expected from the research outweighs the harms from the deception, and making sure there is no deception-free way to build this knowledge.

Assuming the expected knowledge justifies the risk, and assuming deception and concealment are required to build that knowledge, the researcher is then obligated to reveal the concealment or deception to the subjects, and to explain why it was necessary, as soon as possible.

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It's worth noting that the harm to the subjects is not allowed to cross a particular threshold no matter how valuable the knowledge you expect the study to produce.In psychological research, deception occurs when participants are wrongly informed or misled about the aims of the experiment. The participants may be deceived about the setting, purpose or design of the research. Despite the fact that deception is permitted by the American Psychological Association, whether or not deception should be used when conducting psychological research experiments has been the subject of numerous debates.

Psychologists who are against deception argue that misleading participants in a research experiment is dishonest and makes the participants feel clueless about the nature of the research. Psychologists in favor of deception are of the opinion that it is sometimes necessary in order to avoid demand characteristics by allowing the participants to actively engage in the experiment without behaving in an unnatural way.

A psychologist should not conduct any studies involving deception unless the use of the deceptive techniques has been predetermined and is justified by the experiment's prospective educational or scientific value. Psychologists are also not allowed to use deception if the deceptive technique will cause the participant emotional distress or physical pain.

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If deception is used, the psychologist must explain it to the participants as early as possible, ideally immediately they complete their participation, in order to allow participants to withdraw their data.

Home World View. What Are the Four Goals of Psychology? What Is the Importance of General Psychology?Description: An employee sues his former employer for disability discrimination because he feels he lost his job strictly due to his diagnosis of Hepatitis C.

This and similar lawsuits inspire researchers to explore a possible relationship between medical records held by employers and job status. Keyword s : genetic research, conflict of interest, deception, public health research. Case: During a routine physical required for changing from contract worker to regular employee, Mr.

Though Mr. The company defends its actions, arguing that the illness was likely to cause the company future financial harm through expected excessive sick leave, absences and turn-over costs. Conducting this study would require access to private medical records held by companies as well as employment files.

Researchers propose that informed consent from individuals be obtained. They are concerned however, that obtaining permission from companies to access the company-held medical records and employee files for the study will jeopardize the quality of the data received.

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Source: Silvers, A. Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, 35 2 Research Deception.

Deception in Research Guidance

Keyword s : genetic research, conflict of interest, deception, public health research Based on: Silvers, Case: During a routine physical required for changing from contract worker to regular employee, Mr. Should deception of the companies be allowed? Why or why not? What are other options for conducting this study?

What are the pros and cons of those alternatives?The determination of what experimental practices constitute potential harm to research participants is an area fraught with conflicting opinions, in part due to past examples of exploitation and abuse. Psychological studies involving deception in research studies have been especially controversial.

Although there have been some empirical studies examining the effect of deception on research participants, 8 much of this literature is philosophical in nature.

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Although often regarded as a single construct, in practice deception in research encompasses a variety of methodologies. Indirect deception occurs when participants agree to postpone full disclosure of the true purpose of the research or when the goals of the study are not conveyed in their totality to the participant. This methodology has few, if any, ill effects.

One deceptive element commonly cited as potentially harmful is false feedback ostensibly derived from an evaluative task or test. Some have suggested that participants may feel demeaned or have decreased self-esteem if they believe this feedback. In addition to concerns about harms to participants, questions of methodological and reputational harms have also been raised.

Deception may result in more suspicious or contaminated pools of research participants. Despite these concerns, others believe that deception in psychological research can be acceptable in at least some circumstances.

In brief, those in favor of the judicious use of deception believe that its potential benefits to participants, science, and society are worth the largely negligible psychological costs. Because research participants may withdraw from participation at any time, presumably individuals who find deceptive research objectionable can exercise their autonomy by withdrawing their participation.

One potentially important aspect of research ethics that garners rare mention in the literature is experimenter professionalism.

Benham argued that the researcher-participant relationship is first and foremost a professional relationship, similar to that between teacher and student or physician and patient. This may be in part because professional conduct encompasses multiple aspects of social interactions and therefore is difficult to operationalize.

Research on physician professionalism is informative in this regard. The present study examined the effect of three elements central to understanding the potential harms of deception in research: 1 deceptive task instructions; 2 false feedback; and 3 the interpersonal deception of experimenter professionalism. The task deception manipulation examines the effect of deceiving participants about the true purpose of a study.

What Is Deception in Psychology?

The false feedback manipulation examines the impact of leading people to believe something about themselves that is not actually true.

The interpersonal manipulation allows us to determine the effect of unprofessional experimenter conduct, as well as the knowledge of this interpersonal deception after a funnel debriefing. Importantly, including multiple forms of deception in the same study permitted their relative impact to be evaluated with respect to each other and to experimenter professionalism. Examining both task deception and experimenter behavior required two simultaneous layers of deception.

The effect of the unprofessional behavior manipulation on any postfunnel debriefing measures can be considered the effect of an interpersonal deception because at that point in the study all participants were aware of the unprofessional experimenter behavior manipulation. It also permitted a test of the unprofessional experimenter behavior manipulation on these outcomes.

Given that university students are the population most likely to participate in psychological research, 31 they were the group selected for participation in this study. Participants were undergraduates, Two male and two female undergraduate research assistants were involved in the development of the procedure and conducted all experimental sessions.

Multiple role-playing sessions were conducted with the research assistants to ensure consistency and comfort with the procedure. The experimenter professionalism manipulation alternated based on predetermined blocks of experimental sessions.

For all other experimental factors, assignment was randomized. In both professionalism conditions the content of the verbal instructions, which briefly described the nature of the computer task to the participant and provided an opportunity for questions, were identical except for the salutation and farewell that constituted the verbal aspect of the professionalism manipulation.

Apart from the professionalism manipulation, the experimenter was kept blind to condition. At the start of the computer task, participants viewed a series of screens that administered the majority of information and instructions about the experimental task.

deception in research pros and cons

Participants then began the computer task, an exact replication of a study of in-group bias. Following a brief distracter task, participants then recalled the list of behaviors for each group.Deception research is an ethical dilemma in itself. Deception in research entails that participants are not fully informed of the purpose of the study. Valuable insight can also be obtained in this way into factors which would never be discovered if all factors and aspects were obvious to the study participants.

Deception research has shown us some of the most thought-provoking and controversial experiments in social psychology.

Such studies can help to explain why no one intervenes in cases of child abuse or why the abuses in the Abu Ghraib prison occurred. However, participation in studies where those taking part are not informed of what the researchers are actually studying may have serious consequences for the participants.

Deception and Research

It is one thing to feel deceived, but it is also possible to experience more severe reactions as a result of what is revealed about oneself. When, following the experiment, the study participants understood what they might be capable of, this was a horrifying realisation.

The principle of freely given informed consent to participation is one of the core ethical principles of research, and may only be deviated from in very special cases. Such a case was the endorsement by the National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities NESH in the spring of permitting researchers to send fictitious job applications in order to reveal discrimination against job applicants with a non-Norwegian background. The results of the study sparked public debate when they were published in January The research ethics library offers more than 80 specialised articles on topics linked to research ethics, written by a large number of different experts and professionals.

Taken as a whole, the articles shall serve as an introduction to key topics in the area of research ethics. Each article contains additional links to further resources. Its purpose is to help engender reflection and debate, rather than to create an encyclopaedia or provide universally applicable answers. The perspectives and viewpoints presented in the FBIB articles do not necessarily reflect those of The Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees; all authors are responsible for their own perspectives.

Subscribe to our English newsletter. Ethical guidelines General guidelines for research ethics Medical and health research Science and technology The social sciences, law and the humanities Internet Research Human remains Use of Animals in Research. Topics Informed consent Fraud — deception Deceptive research Methodology.

The Research Ethics Library The research ethics library offers more than 80 specialised articles on topics linked to research ethics, written by a large number of different experts and professionals. Newsletter Subscribe to our English newsletter. Thank you for helping us provide a better service.The use of deception in psychological research is, at the very least, controversial. After some highly questionable experiments that occurred in the latter half of the 20th century, the American Psychological Association APA —in accordance with university Institutional Review Boards IRBs —limited the amount and nature of deception that can be used for research purposes.

Psychologists operate under rules that ensure they are taking into account ethical considerations. Because deception could cause harm to participants the use of deception in research is spelled out in their ethical guidelines.

The APA ethics code states that a psychologist should not use deception unless the ends justify the means. Therefore, deception can be used if the outcome of the study outweighs the potential harm of deceptive tactics. It is difficult to make the argument the outcome of research is so valuable that it justifies the use of deception. IRBs, in particular, tend to fall on the more conservative side. Further, if any deception is used, it must be revealed as soon as feasibly possible in the experimental process.

All deception in research falls under two types : direct or indirect. Direct deception is when participants are deliberately provided with misinformation about an experiment, including false instructions, staged situations, intentionally misleading feedback, or the use of exaggerations and minimizations.

Indirect deception occurs when participants agree to postpone full disclosure of the true purpose of the research or when the goals of the study are not conveyed to the participant to mislead them. Think of it as lying by omission. These are the pros and cons of using deception in research:.

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Here are five of the most famous examples of deception used in experiments:. Participants were asked to deliver electric shocks to people they thought were fellow research subjects they were really confederates.

Of course, having participants falsely believe they were inflicting pain on others is a major form of deception and would not be allowed today. Even for the time, it was ethically questionable. However, its findings lent an understanding as to the reason why Germans committed the atrocities of WWII. Sherif and his team brought two groups of boys to a summer camp setting and then proceeded to introduce variables to pit the two groups against each other before attempting to bring them together with a task in which they were forced to work together.

The whole experiment was deceptive; the boys believed they were attending summer camp, not participating in a social experiment on group dynamics.In psychological research, deception occurs when participants are wrongly informed or misled about the aims of the experiment.

The participants may be deceived about the setting, purpose or design of the research. Despite the fact that deception is permitted by the American Psychological Association, whether or not deception should be used when conducting psychological research experiments has been the subject of numerous debates.

Psychologists who are against deception argue that misleading participants in a research experiment is dishonest and makes the participants feel clueless about the nature of the research.

Psychologists in favor of deception are of the opinion that it is sometimes necessary in order to avoid demand characteristics by allowing the participants to actively engage in the experiment without behaving in an unnatural way. A psychologist should not conduct any studies involving deception unless the use of the deceptive techniques has been predetermined and is justified by the experiment's prospective educational or scientific value.

Psychologists are also not allowed to use deception if the deceptive technique will cause the participant emotional distress or physical pain. If deception is used, the psychologist must explain it to the participants as early as possible, ideally immediately they complete their participation, in order to allow participants to withdraw their data.

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