Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct

I found the professional code and ethic statement for psychology on the website of American Psychological Association (APA, http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/). In the statement, ethical principles and conduct of any person who is involved in psychological research are defined and explained. There are five general principles: a) psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm; b) psychologists establish relationships of trust with those with whom they work; c) psychologists establish relationships of trust with those with whom they work; d) psychologists establish relationships of trust with those with whom they work; and e) psychologists establish relationships of trust with those with whom they work.

I’ve learned some of the principles in other places, but I did not systematically study the ethical principles and code of conduct before. As far as I am concerned, these principles have to with two major domains of psychologists’ conduct related to research. First, psychologists need to obey the principles that define the relationship between them and their subjects. In psychological research, researchers have a lot of chances to conduct studies in which human are subjects. At these times, it is extremely important to respect the rights of participants. I’ve been trained in the Human Subject Training Program of the IRB at VT  and of NIH. The contents of the training as well as the principles of APA emphasize that psychologists have great responsibilities to protect human subjects.  Second, the APA statement defines the behavior of psychologists relating the results of their research. Psychologists need apply their results properly. At same time, like any other areas, psychologists should be honest in publishing their results. Studies should be original, and the researchers should give credits to any material they borrow from somewhere else.

In sum, after reading the professional code and ethic statement for psychology, I found that being a researcher in psychology is much more than reviewing literature and conducting experiments. For one thing, we need to respect the subjects, human or animal. For another, the results of our research should benefit the society and entire human-being.