Psy 475

By August 19, 2018 Human Rights

1. What are at least two ethical issues associated with psychological testing? What impact do these issues have on the field of psychological testing?

Ethical issues in psychological testing are extremely critical and taken very seriously in modern day experimentation. One ethical issue with testing in modern psychological testing is that matter is to be harmed physically or mentally (American Psychological Association, 2011). Relating back to previous studies I learned about I can recall testing conducted by B.F. Skinner involving electrical shocks to rats. The case study involved rats and the association area of the brain involving pleasure receptors. Essentially, the rats would electrocute themselves each time a delightful or pleasurable experience were to happen. (Eckhart, 2007).

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A second ethical issue in testing is that there needs to be conformed consent prior to any study being conducted. The individual whom will be tested upon must be fully aware and understanding of the research process. Not only does the right to consent a huge factor but it also leads closely with another ethical issue, which is the right to privacy. The codes of ethical regulations play a huge factor in creating fair and equal opportunities amongst all researchers. Also they provide protection to the population for their own safety and human rights. By creating set rules this allows for a better-directed case study on topics that may be sensitive to humans. It also allows a safe approach for research to occur and allow the growth of science.

2. What are at least two legal issues associated with psychological testing? How do these issues affect the field of psychological testing?

Legal issues within psychological testing are just as important as ethical issues. Generally legal issues arise in psychological testing if a particular ethical code has been violated. Violation of the APA guidelines (ethical codes) can be either deemed mentally or physically damaging to the subject (Wendell, 2008). Mental harm can occur during a study if the subject was lied to about the study and context within the study caused the subject to become stressed, emotionally distraught or they felt deception and as a result now have trust issues.

Examples of physical harm can occur if the subject felt anxious, panic, or even suffered a heart attack. These are just some examples of legal issues can arise as a result of psychological testing. Although these are a direct violation of ethical codes that clearly are not standard testing by APA guidelines, legal issues can also arise in the workforce. If employers continuously conduct personality and skills testing on their employees, they can not take the information obtained from these results and create any sort of discrimination on their employee (Wendell, 2008). For example, if these personality and skill tests come to show that the employee actually has schizophrenia or depression, the company cannot in return fire their employee. This is considered unethical as it violates an individuals privacy rights.

3. Which court case do you feel has had the largest impact on the field of psychological testing? Why?

One court case that I feel has had a large impact on the field of psychological testing was the case of Griggs v Duke Power 1971. This case also held a large impact on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which allowed equal opportunity to African Americans (Hogan, 2007). Even though the civil rights act was established to eliminate discrimination and bias amongst the African American pollution cases such as Griggs v Duke clearly show how the rights movement was still a process in which kept being violated.

The purpose of this case was to create fairness for African Americans, women and minorities when trying to obtain jobs. The case created the rules that requirements of a job must reasonable associate with job performance (Hogan, 2007). The case created a legal standard that required the validation of testing, in other words there need to be “a relationship between the selection device and job performance” (Hogan, 2007, p. 610). This case showed how testing can have bias and as a result be discriminatory towards certain individuals. The guidelines were to establish fair and equal testing that would refrain from bias. We see this time and time again in psychological testing and how much importance is strained on keeping a test fair to all and bias free.


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