If one was to ask the question, “What do ethics mean to you?” These responses would be likely to follow. “Ethics is what my feelings tell me is right or wrong.” “Ethics have to do with my religious beliefs.” “Being ethical means following the laws.” Those replies would be expected. Many do relate ethics with their feelings, but it is not a matter of following feelings. In fact, we will often times stray from living ethically if we were guided by our feelings. Although religions urge high ethical standards, if ethics were limited to religion, ethics would only apply to religious people. Following the law is not the same as being ethical. Ethical standards may be incorporated in the law, but laws, won’t always conform to what is ethical.
The most common way of defining “ethics”: norms for conduct that distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour (Resnik, D.B, 2010). Ethics invoke well-grounded principles of right and wrong. It defines what people ought to do, mainly in terms of respecting and serving others, showing justice, displaying honesty and building community. Finally ethics means, as individuals we are continually striving to shape our lives, our workplace, and our community by advocating those specific virtues of honesty, compassion and loyalty and living up to standards that are admirable and solidly placed (Velasquez, Andre, Shank & Meyer, 2008).
Ethics in Research Psychology
When research psychologists formulate exciting new research projects, it is easy to be swept away by the thrill of new knowledge. There may be the temptation to employ methods that could become ethically muddy and ambiguous. The psychologist whose research is designed and conducted involving human or animal particip...
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...udy of Obedience". Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 67 (4): 371–378
Milgram, Stanley. (1974), Obedience to Authority; An Experimental View. Harpercollins
Resnik, D.B. 2010. What is ethics in research & why is it important? National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Retrieved March 14th, 2011, from http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/bioethics/whatis.cfm
Shaffer, David., & Kipp, Katherine. (2007). Developmental psychology: childhood and adolescence (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Velasquez, Manuel., Andre, Claire., Shank, Thomas., & Meyer, Michael J. (2008). What is ethics? Santa Clara University, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Retrieved March 14th, 2011, from http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/decision/whatisethics.html
Zimbardo, P.G. (2007). The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. New York: Random House
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