When the general public think about ethics and what they mean it is more than likely that they will just assume it’s making sure that things are morally right. We as Psychologists know that there is far more to it than that. In fact there is a criteria when using ethics in Psychology and other subjects/professions. Firstly we need to consider the age of the participant and rules state that if they are under a certain age they cannot sign a consent form themselves, so must have an appropriate parent or guardian adult to do so. This is not just for the safety of them, but also to ensure that if anything does happen to go wrong then other authorities know they volunteered to participate and were not forced to do so under false pretences. Another way to remove this uncertainty is through an instruction form which the participant can read so they have an idea of what is expected from them without enough information to be able to corrupt results if they do so desire.
When allowing participants to perform in experiments we must not say they cannot do so unless we have a valid reason. Ethics can be linked to morals in the sense that we must not discriminate but need to keep an eye out to see if there is anything untoward. Why is it then that we need consent and other forms displaying willingness and don’t just go out onto the streets and ask people if they are willing to participate in an experiment? Maybe we don’t want them to affect our results by not knowing enough about the subject? (Although this may still occur regardless of participant knowledge).Is it that we would rather have people in the same situation as us? Well actually in many cases this does happen, just not as frequently any more thanks to new and improved technology. The internet and television have been around a few decades now, but research has been ongoing longer still. Advancement in computer software and complex new gadgets have allowed psychologists and other scientists to become more in-depth in their readings and results. This does not affect the treatment of ethics, but has enabled the rules and regulations to become more widely known, thus reducing the risk of danger for both parties involved.
Previously, experiments took place with high amounts of risk and little regard for the safety of others. They did however prove influential in increasing the strictness of cautions when it came to a situation that could be harmful to another person. Nowadays ethics are used in all aspects of life from the hiring and firing of staff to teaching methods, right through to experiments inside and outside of laboratories. Without ethics in things such as statistics it would be harder to know what is acceptable and what can be deemed as inappropriate. Therefore complying by ethical rules may seem tedious but in the long run is highly beneficial to all involved.