Thursday, February 7, 2013

What role do ethics play in experimentation? What are some ethical issues associated with John B. Watson’s conditioning of phobic responses?

     Ethics play a vital role in experimentation. With ethics in place, an institutional review board must ensure that experimental procedures are appropriate, obtaining informed consent from all subjects is a must, participants must be protected from harm and discomfort, all experimental data must be treated confidentially, and one has to explain the experiment and the results to the participants afterward. As for animals in experimentation, an institutional animal care and use committee must conclude that it is necessary to use animals as subjects in experiments, and to determine appropriate procedures for the care of the animals.
     Some ethical issues associated with John B. Watson’s conditioning of phobic responses were that Little Albert was unable to give informed consent, and he did not have the right to withdraw. With confidentiality of results, with the age of Little Albert, he was unable to give permission allowing his name or any of the result to be made public and he was to young to be debriefed afterward about the experiment and results. At such a young age, Little Albert's emotional state was not reversed to where it was before the experiment took place, therefore he developed a fear of anything that was white or fluffy.

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