Home > Free Essays > Psychology > Challenges of Psychology > History of Ethical Principles in Psychology

History of Ethical Principles in Psychology Coursework

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Jun 3rd, 2022

Previous physicians justified experiments conducted on the weak and the poor using phrases, which classically defended harmful experiments (Schultz & Schultz, 2012). For example, these physicians would argue that inflicting suffering on a criminal for the good of a thousand innocent lives was worthwhile. However, presently, ethical standards on human subject research have evolved significantly as compared to the previous centuries. This paper discusses how the historical experiments in psychology have redefined modern-day ethical principles of the American Psychological Association. To achieve this, this paper will discuss how examples of historical experiments comply with, or violate, the present day ethical standards.

The APA has evolved considerably since illuminating controversial scientific researches. Among the most memorable experiments is the famous “Little Albert Experiment,” that the American Psychological Association (APA) considers unethical (“Was ‘Little Albert’ ill,” 2012). Today, however, human research sensitively obliges us to follow a set of ethical standards from affiliate psychological associations. In its principle of beneficence and nonmaleficence, the APA cautions against bias research in the conduct of psychologists. Previous research, such as the little Albert experiment, failed to safeguard against the welfare of their subjects (“Was ‘Little Albert’ ill?” 2012). Contrastingly, Mary Cover’s experiment on Peter complied with this ethical principle. Today, the principle has evolved to encourage a consideration of the rights of people who psychologists interact with in research. Another principle of fidelity and responsibility dictates that researchers have to consider the ethical conducts of their colleagues. In the little Albert’s experiment, James Watson’s colleague failed to point out the ethical misconduct in the research they were undertaking (“Was ‘Little Albert’ ill?” 2012). Today, researchers consider conscientiousness in psychology research, by understanding that they are responsible for the ethical concerns of their colleagues.

The APA’s principles of ethics inspire psychologists towards considering high ethical standards in the conduct of their research. For example, the principle of integrity cautions against scientific misconduct, such as result fabrication. In Watson’s research, the author misrepresented Albert’s health status knowing clearly that Albert had congenital hydrocephalus (“Was ‘Little Albert’ ill?” 2012). He hoped that using an unresponsive child would absolve him of any abuse allegations. Today, however, the APA states that psychologists are obligated to note the results of their actions, correct mistrust and desists from risky experiments, as Mary Cover did in her experiment. Mary Cover desisted from a harmful experiment and worked hard to ensure the well-being of her subject (Schultz & Schultz, 2012). Another principle calls for respecting the rights and dignity of subjects by emphasizing on obtaining consent. In James Watson’s experiment, the researcher failed to get consent from Albert’s mother before initiating the experiment (Schultz & Schultz, 2012). Although these principles of ethics inspire high ethical standards in the conduct of their research, controversial experimental designs remain present in psychological research, given the nature of its dealings.

This paper shows that historical experiments in psychology have indeed redefined modern-day ethical principles of the American Psychological Association. Previously, researchers were less concerned with protecting human subjects from harmful experimental procedures; and, most researchers exposed participants to physical and psychological harm knowingly or unknowingly. Analyzing the modern-day ethical principles shows that the lack of ethical standards several years ago, has aided in creating boundaries for ethical standards that guard against such violations. The little Albert experiment is an example of historical research that failed to comply with ethical standards of psychology research. On the other hand, May Cover’s research complied with ethical standards and made all the necessary effort to make sure that her behavioral conditioning experiment successfully insured the well-being of the child after the experiment. These two researchers give clear evidence for reconsidering issues of experimental ethics that have forced researchers to face medical misogyny and to protect subjects.

References

Schultz, D. & Schultz, S. (2012). A history of modern psychology (10th ed.). Boston, Massachusetts: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

“Was ‘Little Albert’ ill during the famed conditioning study?” (2012). American Psychological Association, 43, 3.

This coursework on History of Ethical Principles in Psychology was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Coursework sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, June 3). History of Ethical Principles in Psychology. https://ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-ethical-principles-in-psychology/

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, June 3). History of Ethical Principles in Psychology. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-ethical-principles-in-psychology/

Work Cited

"History of Ethical Principles in Psychology." IvyPanda, 3 June 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-ethical-principles-in-psychology/.

1. IvyPanda. "History of Ethical Principles in Psychology." June 3, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-ethical-principles-in-psychology/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "History of Ethical Principles in Psychology." June 3, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-ethical-principles-in-psychology/.

References

IvyPanda. 2022. "History of Ethical Principles in Psychology." June 3, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-ethical-principles-in-psychology/.

References

IvyPanda. (2022) 'History of Ethical Principles in Psychology'. 3 June.

Powered by CiteTotal, free essay referencing maker
More related papers