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The Ethical Codes Of Human Research Ethics

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Another key development of Psychology as a science was the implementation of ethical codes of conduct in regards to both humans and animals. Milgram’s (1963) obedience experiment prompted various issues related to human research ethics. In Milgram’s initial experiment, participants were asked to electric shock others in order to test their level of obedience to an authority figure. According to the British Psychological Society (BPS) Code of Human Research Ethics (2010), Milgram put the studies participants at more than minimal risk as the research brought on visible levels of psychological distress and anxiety – some participants were noted to be trembling and sweating, and three participants had uncontrollable seizures (Milgram,…show more content…
The monkeys used showed clear signs of emotional distress, and the results were not generalizable to humans, meaning that the research was meaningless and therefore discouraged by the American Veterinary Medical Association (n.d.). This is further supported by the BPS Code of Human Ethics (2010) principle of Social Responsibility, which states that psychological research must be beneficial, and psychologists themselves have a duty of welfare to human and non-human beings. In order to avoid unnecessary experimentation in the UK, the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (Elizabeth II, 1986) was enacted, which states that all researchers who wish to use animals in experiments must apply for three specific licences (personal, project and establishment). Their proposal must include the justification of the cost to the animal against the potential benefits of the research, as well as detailing efforts made to use non-animal alternatives, reduce the number of animals used and to refine the experimental methodology to reduce any potential suffering (Russel and Burch, 1959). The Secretary of State may then approve or reject the licence applications/proposal. Furthermore, the National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs, 2010) published the Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments (ARRIVE) guidelines, which are used to improve research conditions for animals (e.g. improve the design, analysis etc.)
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