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Ethical Dilemmas in Psych-Article Critique - Assignment Example

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Ethical Dilemmas in Psychology: Article Critique Your Name Your University Zimbardo’s Prison Study Philip Zimbardo’s famous prison experiment (1973) was conducted in 1971, before the use of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) was widespread in the conduct of research studies on human subjects…
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Download file to see previous pages The experiment was also approved by Stanford’s Human Subjects Review Committee (the university’s equivalent to an IRB), the Stanford Psychology Department, and by the Navy, who funded much of the study. The APA, at Zimbardo’s request, conducted an ethics evaluation in 1973 and concluded that all existing ethical guidelines had been followed (O’Toole, 1997). Like in the case of Milgrim’s famous study on authority conducted a few years earlier, which has been compared to the Zimbardo study, there are those who believe that this study would have never passed an IRB’s scrutiny today. Zimbardo himself felt that there was much about this study that was unethical. In his book The Lucifer Effect (2007), Zimbardo even apologized for conducting it. He believed that it was unethical because of the suffering it inflicted on its participants and stated, "I was guilty of the sin of omission—the evil of inaction—of not providing adequate oversight and surveillance when it was required…The findings came at the expense of human suffering. I am sorry for that and to this day apologize for contributing to this inhumanity." (181, 235) PINNEBAKER (1997) James W. Pennebaker’s article (1997), “Writing About Emotional Experiences as a Therapeutic Process,” is a literature review. ...
One of the most interesting studies he discusses is the study in which patients used a “magic pad;” researchers found that there were as much positive effects as therapy modes in which they received feedback from a therapist. Pennebaker’s thesis of his article seems to be that there needs to be some kind of physical activity in the disclosure of trauma and to remedy inhibition; what form the activity takes does not matter, as long as it occurs. Pennebaker, in his discussion of the research about writing, does not state if the evaluators followed ethical guidelines, but since they all occurred in laboratory and university settings, it can be assumed that they were all brought before IRBs or similar authorizing committees. It can also be assumed that all participants granted informed consent. It does not seem that other than a few tears, much harm occurred as a result of their participation in any of these studies. Some emotional pain is expected when disclosing traumatic experiences, and in most cases, the release of emotional pain is therapeutic. Most members of IRBs, who are most likely also counselors or those familiar with the counseling process, would understand this when faced with approving these kinds of studies, so passing them was probably an easy process. Pennebaker makes it clear that more studies on the therapeutic benefits of writing needs to be conducted. This article and the studies he discusses support the importance of putting language to traumatic experiences, whether by talking about them, writing about them, and even better, by doing both. MIDDLEMAST (1976) R. Dennis Middlemast’s study (1976) was conducted in 1974, like the Zimbardo study, before the widespread practice of IRBs were firmly established. Also like the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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