29 Sep 2022


Ethical Developments and Practices in Psychology

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Academic level: College

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Most Significant Ethical Development 

Over the past 50 years, big data has significantly developed in psychology, from small unreliable to large reliable information. For decades, research in psychology has largely been underpowered with unreliable data being published. Unethical acts were seen with psychologists using unreliable data or publishing uncertain information. Most of the psychology studies that were carried out did not have significant large samples which could help in detecting them (Spencer, 2017). Most of the researches were also not documented which means less information could be found in a case study. The less information means that there less data to be referred to, thus affecting the use of evidence in psychology, or applying unreliable information. There has been a significant change in the availability of large data in psychology. The psychologists have been involved in coming up with innovative ways in which they can acquire larger samples (Jaffe, 2014). One of the approaches that have been developed is internet testing, which facilitates ease in collecting data from thousands of participants. It enhances the reliability of psychology data. 

Data collected is then documented so that it can be referred to later when required. Psychologists have been working to collect more data, for example, the study which led to the replication of ten major effects in psychology where Amazon Mechanical Turk was applied. The psychologists have also been working closely with organizations dealing with the collection of large amounts of essential data, for example, the collaboration with online gaming companies. One of the recently published studies was by Tom Stafford from Sheffield University. The research was about the learning patterns of more than 850,000 individuals hired by a game developer (Chambers, 2014). The developments in big data in psychology have been supported by advances in computing technology in combination with the large digital networks as well as the available social media platforms. The bid data has made it possible for observing human behavior and coming up with information that can be used in making a reliable conclusion. 

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Historical Events about Modern Ethics 

The historical events that stand out as the most significant in modern ethics are the publishing of “Motivation and Personality” in 1954 by Abraham Maslow. The information helped in understanding the hierarchy of needs which is used in modern psychology and how work ethics operates. Understanding the hierarchy of needs has been used in working environment to respect the needs of people (Sheftel & Zembrzycki, 2010). Human beings have various needs which require to be respected by their employers, as that is the ethical thing to do. These needs are physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Ethics deals with treating other people in the right way. When employers understand these needs, they can ensure that their employers are able to access them (Strickland & Vaughan, 2008). There are different ways in which employers can act ethically to ensure achieving the needs of their workers. 

Researching about employees need is essential as it helps promote the ethics of how they will be motivated and satisfied. It is not easy to ensure the satisfaction of each employee in a company. However, an organization should conduct research on them to determine best services that can help achieve satisfaction. However, the research process has to be ethical. The employees have to be aware and willing to participate in the study (Huitt, 2004). They should not be forced to conduct the study if they are not willing to. However, despite the approach used, a company has to ensure that ethical rules are followed in ensuring fair and right treatment of workers. 

The APA ethics standards derived from this case is the principle for the rights and dignity of people. When the psychologists are conducting research, for example, on the satisfaction of employees, they are supposed to ensure privacy and confidentiality. The rights of the participating employees have to be respected and avoiding influencing the decisions of the employees as that would result in biasness (Sheftel & Zembrzycki, 2010). Diversity should be respected in the process, and factors such as gender, socioeconomic status, race, disability, and religion should not affect the research outcome. 


Chambers, C. (2014, January 24). The changing face of psychology. Retrieved May 10, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/science/head-quarters/2014/jan/24/the-changing-face-of-psychology 

Huitt, W. (2004). Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Educational psychology interactive. 

Jaffe, E. (2014). What Big Data Means For Psychological Science. Retrieved May 10, 2019, from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/what-big-data-means-for-psychological-science 

Sheftel, A., & Zembrzycki, S. (2010). Only human: A reflection on the ethical and methodological challenges of working with “difficult” stories. The Oral History Review, 37(2), 191-214. 

Spencer, H. (2017). The data of ethics. Routledge. 

Strickland, R. A., & Vaughan, S. K. (2008). The hierarchy of ethical values in nonprofit organizations: A framework for an ethical, self-actualized organizational culture. Public Integrity, 10(3), 233-252. 

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