Ethics in psychology

  • Tony Malim
  • Ann Birch


One of the primary aims of psychology is to improve the quality of human life and to do this it is necessary to carry out research with human participants. They are a vital resource. Without them there would be no psychology and no advances in knowledge. If psychologists are to enjoy the freedom they need to conduct research, they must take great care that they do not create an atmosphere where people are unwilling to take part in psychological research. Above all else, however, psychologists have a duty to respect the rights and dignity of research participants. Consequently they must maintain high ethical standards whatever their field of research or practice. This means that they must abide by certain moral principles and rules of conduct and these serve to protect research participants, the reputation of psychology and the psychologists themselves.


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Further reading

  1. Gross, R.D. (1995). Themes, Issues and Debates in Psychology. London: Hodder and Stoughton. Chapter 10 gives a clear and detailed account of ethical issues in psychological research with humans and animals. It goes on to examine ethics in behaviour change, especially in clinical settings.Google Scholar
  2. Fairbairn, S. and Fairbairn, G. (eds) (1987) Psychology, Ethics and Change. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. This book concentrates on the moral dimensions of psychological practice in clinical settings. It is a multiauthor text with contributions from practitioners in a variety of fields.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tony Malim and Ann Birch 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Malim
  • Ann Birch

There are no affiliations available

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