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Ethical problems: The deceptive practice of "No informing"

Deception in studies involving the practice of no informing. No-informing suggests that participants are unaware that they are participating in research, which could have long -lasting psychological or physical effects. Non-informing invites several potential ethical objections (a) First, the subject's privacy is invaded, (b) the person's informed consent is not obtained, (c) there is no self-determination [(as the real nature of the test is not revealed], (d) No debriefing, (e) researcher has lied to the participant, and (f) researcher has concealed information (Sieber et al., 1995). In addition, debriefing (explaining what happened), and desensitizing (efforts to remove any harmful effects) is not always feasible, or effective (Levine, 2009). In addition, according to Sieber et al., role deception has replaced other techniques in the practice of deception in research with the use of computers that provide false impressions to subjects. They note that even when deception was unnecessary, the percentage of deception practices occurred in areas such as personality and sex differences, rising from 22% in 1988 to 37% in 1992.

Relative to the specific practice of deception in no informing, one of the most infamous cases that highlighted this form of deception occurred in the biomedical research related to the Tuskegee Syphilis Study [1932-1972] (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008) when poor black men unknowingly participated in a study in which they assumed they were receiving free health care. Many of the subjects, including their wives and children died from the disease. In the same way, the notion that deception is needed to further research in the social and psychological disciplines is an indefensible rationale in deceiving people into participating in research that they might otherwise not engage in. Moreover, concealing information from participants draws suspicion, and could lead to outcomes in a study that are misleading.

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Participants in psychological research should be given the opportunity to consent the research in which they will be involved. While under some circumstances deception may be warranted (e.g. experimental techniques), researchers need to find alternative methods in experiments that don't require deception. In this way, the researcher respects the rights of the individual, and aids in participants' motivation to participate in the study. Researchers should ...

Solution Summary

This article focuses on the practice of deception by no informing. More attention should be given to the practice of no informing by increasing participants' awareness to a study, appreciating participants' genuine willingness to become involved in a study, and respecting their intelligence to make informed decisions regarding what they find morally and ethically acceptable.

Deception in research involves several types of failure to inform: (a) false informing, consent to possible deception, or no informing (a) informed consent is provided under specific conditions [e.g., placebo effects], (b) consent to deception [subjects are warned that some deception occurs],(c) wavier of right to be informed [ clients waive being informed but are not forewarned of the possibility of deception], (d) consent and false informing [when subjects believe they have been truthfully informed], (e) No-informing (non-informing or no consent) when subjects are not aware they are participating in research, (f) self-deception [research is different from what the participant expects, and (g) Deception by a third party [when the truth may be viewed as harmful to the participant] (Sieber, Iannuzzo & Rodriguez, 1995).