Ethical Issues in Psychology: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ethical Issues in Psychology

1st Edition

By Philip Banyard, Cara Flanagan


192 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2011-08-09
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How do we know right from wrong, good from bad, help from hindrance, and how can we judge the behaviour of others?

Ethics are the rules and guidelines that we use to make such judgements. Often there are no clear answers, which make this subject both interesting and potentially frustrating. In this book, the authors offer readers the opportunity to develop and express their own opinions in relation to ethics in psychology.

There are many psychological studies that appear to have been harmful or cruel to the people or animals that took part in them. For example, memory researchers carried out studies on a man who had no memory for over forty years, but because he had no memory he was never able to agree to the studies. Is this a reasonable thing to do to someone? Comparative psychologist Harry Harlow found that he could create severe and lasting distress in monkeys by keeping them in social isolation. Is this a reasonable thing to do even if we find out useful things about human distress? If you were able to use psychological techniques to break someone down so that they revealed information that was useful to your government, would you do it? If so, why? If not, why not? These ethical issues are not easy to resolve and the debates continue as we encounter new dilemmas.

This book uses examples from psychological research to look at:

  • key ethical issues
  • ethical guidelines of psychologists
  • socially sensitive research
  • ethics in applied psychology
  • the use of animals in research

This book is essential reading for undergraduate and pre-undergraduate students of psychology and related subjects such as philosophy and social policy.


"New and experienced students and educators in psychology will really benefit from this innovative book. Like few others, Ethical Issues in Psychology presents traditional debates in lively, interactive and contemporary contexts – as well as stimulating further debates which may not hitherto have been treated as ethical at all." - Andrew Stevenson, Manchester Metropoltian University, UK

"Ethical issues have (rightly) assumed great importance in empirical psychology. EVERY psychologist, including all undergraduates, need to understand the issues involved. This book fills an important need, it’s at the right level, and it’s entertaining and interesting to read." Trevor Harley, University of Dundee, UK

Table of Contents

Rights and wrongs. Ethical issues and how to deal with them. Ethical Principles and guidelines. Psychological research with human participants. Psychological Research with animals. Psychology in practice. Ethics and your research project.

About the Authors

Philip Banyard is a Reader in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University. He has a long-standing interest in the teaching of psychology at all levels. He was Chief Examiner for GCSE Psychology and then A Level Psychology with OCR for nearly 20 years.

Cara Flanagan is a freelance academic author and lecturer. She has published a wide range of books covering general topics in psychology as well as research methods and ethics. She organises and speaks at conferences for psychology students and trains psychology teachers.

About the Series

Foundations of Psychology

This series provides pre-undergraduate and first year undergraduates with appealing and useful books that will enable the student to expand their knowledge of key areas in psychology. The books go beyond the detail and discussion provided by general introductory books but will still be accessible and appropriate for this level. This series will bridge the gap between the all-encompassing general textbook and the currently available advanced topic-specific books which might be inaccessible to students who are studying such topics for the first time. Each book has a contemporary focus and fits into one of three main categories including Themes and Perspectives (such as Theoretical Approaches or Ethics), Specific Topics (such as Memory or Relationships) and Applied Areas (such as Psychology and Crime).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy