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IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE Is it ethical to deceive participants in an experimental situation? If the answer to that is yes, is it still ethical to keep the real meaning of the experiment from the individual? That is, is it necessary to conduct a debriefing session when the experiment is over? If the subject is made to feel uncomfortable because of his behavior during the session, is that still ethical? Suppose the person is so devastated by the experience that he carries the altered image of himself for much of the rest of his life and finds it difficult to deal with the guilt. In a study by Milgram, a confident business man was told to administer what he believed was a possibly lethal shock to a confederate of the experimenter. Milgram describes his behavior. "Within 20 minutes he was reduced to a twitching suttering wreck who was rapidly approaching a point of nevous collapse." Is this still acceptable, all in the "Name of Science?" I do not know the answers to these questions, but I have a much better understanding of the entire problem of of deception in experimental psychology after reading James Korn's Excellent book "Illusions of Reality". Korn has done a masterful and monumental task of presenting the evidence on which a decision on the ethics of deception can be made. His approach is well balanced and thorough. All deception is not unethical. "Social psychologist justify their use of deception partly in terms of benefits to society that will result from the research. "One of these benefits is that we now have a better understanding of human nature because of research in social psychology." Psychologists and any one else who intends to do experimental work with human should read this book.
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