Scientific Benefit vs. Ethical Costs

Topics: Scientific method, Research, Philosophy Pages: 1 (345 words) Published: February 26, 2012
What is meant by the term scientific benefit?
Scientific benefits are the benefits in terms of knowledge and understanding gained from scientific research which provides explanations of and explanations for complex phenomenon and behaviour. This can be applied to real life in the form of treatments or such, for example Robertson and Robertson’s study provided scientific benefit in that it was discovered how important a child’s attachment to their Mother is. Using psychological knowledge and research findings, discuss scientific benefits against ethical costs in psychology Psychologists have an obligation to two sets of people, one to the participants; they must ensure that the participant does not come to any harm as a result of the study and leave in the state that they entered (otherwise known as the ethical cost) and secondly the researcher has an obligation to seek and share knowledge which will better the human race (known as the scientific benefit). Ethical costs arise when ethical issues are breached in research, for example deception has been used in many studies, but without it results may be invalidated by methodological issues such as demand characteristics and investigator bias, the ethical cost of which would be potential stress and psychological harm it may cause the participant. This could be less serious for example in Asch’s study the participants were deceived about the confederates and they may have experienced some embarrassment, but it could have more serious consequences for example in Rosenhan’s study the medical professionals were deceived about the nature of the pseudo patients and this may have led to them becoming stressed and questioning themselves and their own decisions in the future. But this must be weighed against the scientific benefit gained from each of these studies, in Asch’s study there was lots of knowledge gained about conformity and in Rosenhan’s study knowledge was gained about how people are treated depending on their...
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