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Research and Ethics in Psychology

Developmental psychology attempts to understand cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development throughout the lifespan. In order to understand, for example, how maternal stress during pregnancy might impact the child later in life, pregnant women and children could be studied. Vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, newborns, children, cognitively impaired individuals, incarcerated individuals, or older adults, require additional consideration and protection when planning to conduct research with them.

When conducting research in the field of human development, particularly with vulnerable populations, it is important to keep in mind that a unique set of ethical considerations should be taken into account. These populations need extra care to ensure their rights because some individuals may lack the mental capacity to give informed consent, may have decreased free will, or may be vulnerable in terms of their physical or mental welfare. As you approach this Discussion, keep in mind how ethical considerations might have affected the type of research that could be conducted.

For this Discussion, you will examine the role of ethics in developmental psychology research as it relates to vulnerable populations.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review the example of a Discussion post and response found in this week’s Learning Resources as well as the Discussion Rubric to understand the Discussion’s expectations.
  • Review the Learning Resources related to ethics and research in the field of developmental psychology
  • Choose a population from the following:
    • Children
    • Women who are pregnant
    • Geriatric individuals
    • Individuals with cognitive disabilities
    • Adolescents

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