Social Psychology and Ethical Issues
Social psychology is a discipline that investigates an individual’s perception and reaction towards an accorded phenomenon based on the influence of another individual’s actual or abstract presence. Practitioners of social psychology tend to conduct majority of their research examinations in laboratories with a few being performed in a naturalistic setting. Due to the nature of the discipline, only human subjects are employed in the examinations, as animals are incapable of aiding with the required measures (Tenbrunsel, 2006). Research examinations employing humans require an informed assent from the contributors and this necessitates a session in where the individuals are enlightened on the research. This involves affording the whole truth to the participants before they can make a final resolution with regard to the study. However, this requirement is ignored with dishonesty employed to maintain a natural environment and reactions from the contributors.
This is largely realized through the utilization of false narratives, performers pretending to be participants and falsified information to the contributors. This dishonest approach has been disapproved of by many individuals as they accord it to manipulative practices. Social psychologists have rationalized their dishonest practices by noting that, according full information to contributors prior to a given examination has led to a significant negative impact on the conduct test as participants tend to accord unnatural behaviors within the project. Subsequently, this leads to erroneous outcomes and inferences. Upholding the deceptive element however tends to influence other ethical requirements like non-maleficence that mandates psychologists from according no injury to an individual (Fisher, 2003). This guideline is mainly employed within the therapeutic element as all forms of treatment bear both benefits and detrimental factors. For instance, an individual with an irrational form of fear towards clowns maybe taken into a setting where such an entertainer is drowning and only the client can save the affected from drowning.
As the client beats the phobia to reach the clown and thereby beating the problem, then the deception is revealed that the clown was just but an actor well capable of swimming. Most clients tend to feel stupid and humiliated by the trickery and this is viewed as a form of harm. With regard to research issues, it is argued that denying some information from the participants may result into a similar occurrence upon the revelation of some information. The quandary posited by this ethical requirement is founded on the premise that for whichever method the psychologist prefers to employ, a level of harm will be accorded to the client and thereby breaching the ethical obligation (Mertens, & Pauline, 2009). Therefore, the practitioner is obligated into applying the cost-benefit canon towards the affording an optimal choice. Additionally, both benefits and detrimental issues related to the therapy have to be relayed to the client for informed choices as to whether to execute or disallow the therapy. Relaying such information to the client before the exercise is however ineffectual.
Reverting to the clown situation, the client cannot compromise their wellbeing for a person capable of swimming, as the danger factor is absent. Subsequently, the phobia tends to remain. Beneficence that relates to enhancing good in all resolutions should therefore be employed. Social psychologists chiefly employ their services to people and are therefore mandated into upholding good in all association instances. Beneficence therefore is founded on the need to enhance an individual’s wellbeing within service administration (Koocher, & Patricia, 2008). When the assessment of the situation reveals that an accorded approach imparts more harm that benefits, then it should be rejected whereas the inverse according more benefits than harm should be implemented. Information disclosure however should be suspended until the end of the examination for the individual’s wellbeing.
Fisher, C. B. (2003). Decoding the ethics code: a practical guide for psychologists. Teller Road, CA: SAGE.
Koocher, G. P., & Patricia, K. (2008). Ethics in psychology and the mental health professions: standards and cases. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Mertens, D. M., & Pauline, E. G. (2009). The handbook of social research ethics. Teller Road, CA: SAGE Publications Inc.
Tenbrunsel, A. E. (2006). Ethics in groups, Volume 8. West Yorkshire, UK: Emerald Group Publishing.