Codes of Ethics
Janet is a senior psychology major interested in conducting a study to examine the effects of TV violence on behavior in children. A friend of Janet’s is the director of a day-care facility in town, and Janet decides that this would be a convenient place to make observations. Janet devises a methodology whereby she will assign the children to two groups. All of the children will watch television programs for two hours each day for a total of three weeks. During the programs and for one hour afterward, Janet will record the number of aggressive acts by each child. One group will watch violent programs, and the other group will watch nonviolent programs. Janet describes the study to her friend, the director of the day-care center. Her friend agrees that Janet can conduct the study. So Janet develops videotapes that have either violent or nonviolent programs and develops data sheets with space for each child’s name, group assignment, and number of aggressive acts. She begins the study. After one week, it has become clear that the children watching the violent programs are engaging in very aggressive behaviors and that some of the children in this group are becoming fearful. To protect the integrity of her research design, Janet continues the study for the remaining two weeks. Janet is pleased that the results clearly support her hypothesis that the children who watched the violent TV programs would show more aggressive behavior. She plans to present her findings at a regional psychology conference.
1. Which of the five ethical principles has (have) been violated? 2. Within ethics standard 8, which areas have been violated? 3. What should have been done to make this study ethical?