Ethical Considerations in Psychology Research

  • John OatesEmail author
Living reference work entry


Research in psychology covers two main fields: furthering the understanding of the whole, complex gamut of processes that are involved in everyday human experience and behavior and developing methods for treating mental health problems. While the ethics of research and practice in this latter field falls largely within the general ambit of medical ethics, psychology research outside this domain involves some quite specific ethics issues in addition to those common across social sciences. Professional bodies of psychologists have developed specific codes and guidance for the ethical conduct of research, offering best practice guidance. There are several enduring ethics concerns for psychology researchers that are covered in this chapter. These include the validity of consent, how to ethically manage withholding information from participants, or deceiving them, where this is a necessary part of the research design. Also, with the growth in Internet-based research, genomics, and neuroimaging, psychologists have had to develop new ways of maintaining standards and compliance with ethical principles of the discipline. New approaches have required development to manage issues of consent, especially with children and young people.


Psychology; Research ethics; Deception; Neuroscience; Children; Consent; Internet-mediated research; Replicability; Ethics codes 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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