Is deception always necessary when conducting research in social psychology with human participants?

To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

  • Is deception always necessary when conducting research in social psychology with human participants?

Do the insights gained from research justify deceiving people?



Suggested Resources

The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful context. For additional resources, refer to the Research Resources and Supplemental Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom.

Library Resources

The following e-books or articles from the Capella University Library are linked directly in this course. Note: Some of the articles listed are fairly old and are included here because they are considered seminal works in the field.

  • Bandura, A., Ross, D., & Ross, S. A. (1961).Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology63(3), 575–582.
  • Bandura, A., Ross, D., & Ross, S. A. (1963). Imitation of film-mediated aggressive models. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology66(1), 3–11.
  • Becker-Blease, K. A., & Freyd, J. J. (2006). Research participants telling the truth about their lives: The ethics of asking and not asking about abuse.American Psychologist61(3), 218– here for more information on this paper
  • Benham, B. (2008). The ubiquity of deception and the ethics of deceptive research. Bioethics22(3), 147–156.
  • Boynton, M. H., Portnoy, D. B., & Johnson, B. T. (2013). Exploring the ethics and psychological impact of deception in psychological research. IRB: Ethics & Human Research35(2), 7–13.Crano, W. D. (2000). Milestones in the psychological analysis of social influence. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice4(1), 68–80.
  • Buckle, J. L., Dwyer, S. C., & Jackson, M. (2010).Qualitative bereavement research: Incongruity between the perspectives of participants and research ethics boards. International Journal of Social Research Methodology13(2), 111–125.
  • Guadagno, R. E., Muscanell, N. L., Rice, L. M., & Roberts, N. (2013). Social influence online: The impact of social validation and likability on compliance. Psychology of Popular Media Culture,2(1), 51–60.
  • Haney, C., & Zimbardo, P. (1998). The past and future of U.S. prison policy: Twenty-five years after the Stanford Prison Experiment. American Psychologist53(7), 709–727.
  • Heerdink, M. W., van Kleef, G. A., Homan, A. C., & Fischer, A. H. (2013). On the social influence of emotions in groups: Interpersonal effects of anger and happiness on conformity versus deviance.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,105(2), 262–284.
  • Horcajo, J., Petty, R. E., & Briñol, P. (2010). The effects of majority versus minority source status on persuasion: A self-validation analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology99(3), 498–512.
  • Juritzen, T. I., Grimen, H., & Heggen, K. (2011).Protecting vulnerable research participants: A Foucault-inspired analysis of ethics committees. Nursing Ethics18(5), 640–650.
  • McDonald, K. E., Kidney, C. A., & Patka, M. (2013).“You need to let your voice be heard”: Research participants’ views on research. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research57(3), 216–225.
  • Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67(4), 371–378.
  • Milgram, S. (1964). Group pressure and action against a person. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology69(2), 137–143.
  • Milgram, S. (1965). Liberating effects of group pressure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology1(2), 127–134.
  • Pascual-Leone, A., Singh, T., & Scoboria, A. (2010).Using deception ethically: Practical research guidelines for researchers and reviewers. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne51(4), 241–248.
  • Zimbardo, P. G. (1974). On ‘obedience to authority‘.American Psychologist29(7), 566–567.
  • Voisin, D., & Fointiat, V. (2013). Reduction in cognitive dissonance according to normative standards in the induced compliance paradigm. Social Psychology,44(3), 191–195.
  • Wilson, C. M., & Christensen, B. K. (2012). Ethical issues relevant to the assessment of suicide risk in nonclinical research settings. Crisis33(1), 54–59.


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