According to your textbook, ethical standards are vitally important in human subjects research. Risks and benefits, informed consent, confidentiality, and appropriate debriefing are all part of current ethical standards. At the same time, your textbook notes that informed consent and risks and benefits are not always easy to implement–for example, it may not be possible for everyone to fully appreciate the risks and benefits associated with a study or treatment.
As noted in your book, many of the studies which have been criticized for being unethical come from the bio-medical field, while others come from the field of social and behavioral sciences. Examples of controversial biomedical research include the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the Willowbrook School’s hepatitis studies, and most recently, the gene-editing research conducted in China by disgraced researcher He Jiankui, who was sentenced to 3 years in prison for editing the genes of twin girls to make them more resistant to AIDS. Famous social-behavioral examples of ethically questionable research include Milgram’s obedience studies, Zimbardo’s prison study and Laud Humphrey’s study of anonymous public restroom sex. These examples serve as a reminder that ethical violations, fraud, and misconduct still occur and are not a thing of the past.
In this forum, you are asked to consider the reasons why unethical research continues to be a problem. Questions to consider include the idea that some scientific values increase the chances for ethical violations. Another question to consider is the possibility that human nature itself simply predisposes researchers to overlook ethical considerations. Overall, what factors are most likely to produce ethical research? What factors are most likely to lead to unethical research? Be sure to use peer-reviewed sources for this forum
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