Social Psychology Ethical and Unethical Scenario Assignment

In the following forum you will read 4 hypothetical social psychological study scenarios. For each of the following studies, please indicate whether you consider it to be ethical or unethical and justify your decision by discussing the ethical or unethical principles involved.

Study # 4. A psychologist is interested in studying discrimination against gay men. She carefully trains a male confederate to portray stereotypical “macho” and “gay” behavior. In the laboratory, naive participants interview the confederate for a hypothetical job. Without their knowledge, the psychologist observes their nonverbal gestures, eye contact with the confederate, and so forth. In order to assure that participants do not talk to their friends about the study, the psychologist never reveals to them that the true purpose was to study discrimination.

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________ethical ________cannot decide ________unethical

Ethical principle(s):

Study # 5. Deception was employed in a study examining the relationship between attributional style and self-esteem. Prior to participation, research subjects were informed of the requirements and purpose of the experiment to the extent possible given the deception component. Freedom to withdraw from the study at any time was emphasized. Following an assessment of attributional style, all participants were given false feedback on a test of a particular intellectual ability and were told that their scores indicated that they performed below average. Attribution and self-esteem measures were then administered. Immediately upon completion, subjects were thanked for their participation and promised a detailed report of the study. Two months later, subjects received the report, which fully described the deception.

________ethical ________cannot decide ________unethical

Ethical principle(s):

Study #6. A team of researchers is interested in studying helping behavior. They stage a scene in a subway in which a confederate falls off his seat and bleeds from the mouth. The dependent variable is how quickly bystanders help the “victim.” The bystanders are never told they have been in an experiment.

________ethical ________cannot decide ________unethical

Ethical principle(s):

Study # 7. Participants are invited to be “confederates” of the experimenter who is ostensibly doing a study on the effects of stress on job interview performance. The participant’s role is to give the other study participant (who is in fact the “real” confederate) negative feedback about his interview performance. They are to tell him that he is performing poorly at the task he is working on, is unlikely to get the job, and to make demeaning remarks about the interviewer’s personality. If the participant protests, the experimenter gives him prods such as, “The experiment requires that you must continue.”

________ethical ________cannot decide ________unethical

Ethical principle(s):


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