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Kaplan University:   Psychology / Applied Behavior Analysis

PS499: Bachelors Capstone Course in Psychology


Unit 6 Assignment Overview

Topic: Ethical Issues

As you have learned in previous courses, understanding and adhering to ethical guidelines is critical to client care. Regardless of the setting in which you are employed, adherence to ethical guidelines will be required. Further, it is important to consider as many ethical situations as possible before being faced with them so that you have time to research and plan your actions. This week, you will respond to hypothetical situations related to ethical issues.


As you have learned throughout your courses, adherence to ethical principles is paramount in the field of psychology. However, many psychological experiments of the past would not be allowed under today’s standards.




Choose an influential experiment in the field of psychology that violated present-day ethical guidelines. The following website (Mental Floss, 2012) may be useful in choosing a study, but you may also choose one that is not listed there: http://mentalfloss.com/article/52787/10-famous-psychological-experiments-could-never-happen-today.


Briefly describe the study. Then, taking into consideration the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (American Psychological Association, 2002), discuss at least 2 guidelines that were violated and how. Describe how violating these guidelines was or could have been harmful to participants.


Given your knowledge of ethical guidelines, re-design the experiment you chose so the same hypothesis could be addressed in an ethical research study.


In all sections of your Assignment, particular attention should be paid to the General Principles (http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx?item=3) and standards for research (http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx?item=11) in the ethical code. Some concentration areas also have their own ethical code, and this should be referred to as well. NOTE:My concentration is Applied Behavior Analysis.

Your paper should be 3–4 pages, not including the title page and reference page. It should include an introduction and conclusion, and you must use at least 3 academic references to support your ideas. References must be in APA format, including in-text citations and a reference list.


Reference sources for this assignment:

1.      APA Ethical Code: http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx

Source: Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct: APA. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx

2.      Applied Behavior Analysis Code of Conduct: http://bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/160321-compliance-code-english.pdf

Source: BACB Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts: BACB. Retrieved from http://bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/160321-compliance-code-english.pdf

3.      10 famous psychological experiments that could never happen today: http://mentalfloss.com/article/52787/10-famous-psychological-experiments-could-never-happen-today

Source: Mental Floss. (2012). 10 famous psychological experiments that could never happen today. Retrieved from http://mentalfloss.com/article/52787/10-famous-psychological-experiments-could-never-happen-today




Grading Criteria









Describes an influential study that violates present-day ethical guidelines.



Discusses at least 2 ethical guidelines that were violated and how.



Describes how violating these guidelines could have been/was harmful to participants.



Designs a study to address the same hypothesis in an ethical research manner, noting how the violated guidelines are now ethically addressed.







Paper includes a title page, introduction with thesis statement, conclusion, and in-text citations and reference page using APA style.
Paper is appropriate in length (body of the paper should be 3-4 pages, not including the title page or reference page).
Paper includes reference to at least three academic sources.




Paper uses Standard American English including correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and complete sentences and paragraphs.
Paper is free of typographical errors.
Paper includes a highly developed viewpoint and purpose.
Paper demonstrates superior organization; communication is highly ordered, logical and unified.







An explanation of the points earned, as well as where the assignment could be strengthened will be included with your grade.





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