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Ethics in Research

By bignerds Jun 28, 2008 482 Words
The study of psychology often requires the use of experimental methods to gather important information for the betterment of the human race. Experiments often involve the use of humans and animals. What can be done to a human or animal in the name of science and research is a question of ethics. Ethics is study of moral issues in the fields of medical treatment and research.

In the experiments performed by Carney Landis, many ethics violations were committed. In his experiments humans and animals were not treated correctly. Animals were tortured and killed without observing proper techniques in doing so. For example, rat's heads were cut off with dull knives. No anesthesia was used, and the animal was killed painfully. Humans were also made to endure distress even if they were unwilling. If the person would not decapitate the rat, the scientist would do it and make the subject watch.

With the humans involved, all of the ethics codes set by The American Psychological Association were violated. There was no concern for the dignity of the subject involved. The subject may have felt humiliated during certain parts of the experiment. The subjects were not informed of the nature of the research. Furthermore, the subjects were not allowed to decline participation. If the person was not willing to cut off the rat's head, they were still required to witness the deception. The subjects were also deceived about what was occurring. The person's hand was placed in the box with the frogs and then shocked.

With animals, the experiments also violated the ethics code. The animals were not treated humanely. They were tortured and killed by a dull knife. The animal's comfort, health, and humane treatment was completely disregarded. No efforts were made to ease the discomfort and pain of the rat being decapitated. The necessity to cause the animals stress and terminate their lives was not clearly presented or explained. Finally, the animal's life was not terminated quickly, and there was no effort to minimize the animal's pain.

I believe that the use of live organisms in research is necessary. I think that research on animals can be a very beneficial practice. Animals and humans should be used when needed. However, no organism, human or animal, should be tortured or killed without absolute just cause. Any pain or suffering that an animal endures in the name of science should be as minimal as possible. All alternatives should be explored before causing any person or animal unnecessary stress or harm. Ethics are needed in science to clearly outline what is acceptable and what is not. Otherwise, certain experiments can cause distress, harm, and death to organisms that may not be needed. Without ethics, animals and certain people would not have the rights that they deserve. With good ethics, the rights of organisms will be respected and maintained.

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