Ethical considerations


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A Code of conduct was first issued by the BPS in 1985 and the APA first developed guidelines in 1953 due to the influx of Psychologists. However these were both somewhat developed and revised due to the backlash in experiments which others considered ethically unsound. Most notoriously those experiments conducted by Milgram and Zimbardo are often considered amongst the most ethically questionable in this period.
Perhaps surprisingly late, ethical guidelines to protect people in research against deception and harm have only existed in their earliest form for the last 40-50 years or so. The BPS developed its first code of Human Ethics in 2011 and ethical considerations are revised and developed every few years or so by governing bodies such as the BPS and the APA.
The history of ethics in Psychology illustrates the darker past of Psychology when ethics were not considered as stringently as they are today. However it’s important to continue to question, what contexts and historical events might be impacting our ethics today? And how might this change in the future? It is possible after all that as we look on our past ethical guidelines with surprise, so too might the Psychologists in the next 40-50 years look upon our present guidelines.