AP Psychology : Ethics

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Ethics

Who is responsible for approving research conducted on humans?

Possible Answers:

You do not need approval to conduct research on humans

Association for Research Approval (ARA)

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

National Institute of Health (NIH)

Correct answer:

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Explanation:

An institutional review board (IRB) is a committee that reviews, approves, and monitors biomedical and behavioral research conducted on humans. Its purpose is to assure that participants' rights are protected during the course of research. 

Example Question #2 : Ethics

Which of the following is not considered an ethical reason for deception of subjects in a study?

Possible Answers:

Subjects will be told of the deception afterwards, and allowed to learn the truth behind the research and methods

The study could not be completed without deciving the subjects

Deception in this study could provide researchers with new and valuable insights

All of these are acceptable reasons for deception in a psychological study

They would be upset if they knew the truth

Correct answer:

They would be upset if they knew the truth

Explanation:

Deception may be necessary to study subjects' true behavior, as people may behave differently if they know they are under observation or know the exact purpose of the study being performed. However, deceiving subjects simply because they might be upset if they knew the truth is not a valid ethical reason to do so.

Example Question #2 : Ethics

Which of the following is necessary for informed consent in pyschological research?

Possible Answers:

All of these are necessary for a subject to give informed consent

Subject is informed of purpose and expected duration of the study

Subject is told of any potential limits to confidentiality

Subject is told of potential research benefits of the study

Subject is allowed to withdraw from the study at any time

Correct answer:

All of these are necessary for a subject to give informed consent

Explanation:

Informed consent in psychological research means the subject is given enough information on the study to make an informed decision on his/her participation. This includes informing the subject that s/he can withdraw consent and leave the study at anytime.

Example Question #3 : Ethics

Which of the following are requirements for psychological studies that include animal testing?

Possible Answers:

All of these

Animals must be treated in a humane manner

There must be a clear scientific purpose

The animals have to be acquired legally

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

The American Psychological Association (APA) has certain ethical guidelines when it comes to using animals for research. Experiments must be designed for the most minimal amount of suffering possible and the animals must be treated in a humane way. They have to have been acquired from a legal source, and it must be made clear why it is that animals must be used for this particular scientific end.

Example Question #4 : Ethics

In human research, what is informed consent?

Possible Answers:

Participants know they are involved in a study, but do not have to give written consent

Participants must know they are involved in a study and give written consent

Participants don't have to know that what they are doing is for research, but they must give written consent

Participants go into the study blindly

Correct answer:

Participants must know they are involved in a study and give written consent

Explanation:

A requirement by the American Psychological Association (APA) is that the participant in a human study must give informed consent. That is, they must know they are involved in a study and give written consent. There can't be any extreme deception about the study; the participant must have an understanding of the expectations and premise of the study.

Example Question #5 : Ethics

What is the guideline for confidentiality in a psychological study?

Possible Answers:

If the participant's identity is vital to the results of the study, then the researcher can reveal the identity of the participant

The identity of the participant can be revealed in the results, only with informed consent

If the participant did not sign the appropriate papers, the identity of the participant can be revealed in the results

No participant's identity can be revealed in the results of the study

Correct answer:

No participant's identity can be revealed in the results of the study

Explanation:

Once the research is completed, the identity of the people involved in the study, under absolutely no condition, may be revealed. The identity of the participant will never be made an integral part of the study, and there are no forms that allow for this.

Example Question #6 : Ethics

Which of the following is an APA guideline for human participation in a study?

Possible Answers:

All of these

The participant cannot reveal to anyone else that they were a participant in a study

The researcher cannot ask the participant about their ethnic or familial background

The participant cannot be placed under significant mental or physical risk

Correct answer:

The participant cannot be placed under significant mental or physical risk

Explanation:

According to American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines, a participant in a study cannot be placed under significant mental or physical risk. There are no forms that the participant can sign that would allow for these conditions in a study.

Example Question #7 : Ethics

What are the debriefing procedures for participants involved in a psychological study?

Possible Answers:

The participants are told the end goal of the study and ways to attain the results before the experiment begins

The participants are told the end goal of the study and ways to attain the results after the experiment is completed

After the experiment, the participants do not have to be told the end goal of the study but are given ways to attain the results

After the experiment, the participants are told the end goal of the study but do not have access to the end results

Correct answer:

The participants are told the end goal of the study and ways to attain the results after the experiment is completed

Explanation:

The debriefing procedures according to American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines are such that after the experiment, participants are told the end goal of the study and ways to attain the results. Doing so before the experiment could affect the results in an undesirable way, and so this information is provided to the participant after the experiment is completed.

Example Question #8 : Ethics

Can there be involuntary participants in a psychological study according to APA guidelines?

Possible Answers:

No, and under no exception

No, with certain exceptions, especially when field work is being done

No, but with the exception that the involuntary participants will be put under no mental or physical stress

Yes, but only in a controlled setting

Correct answer:

No, and under no exception

Explanation:

The American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines for participation in a psychological study are such that there may be no involuntary partcipants or coercion involved in the study. The participants must provide clear and written informed consent before participating in the study.

Example Question #10 : Ethics

Which of the following is not an aspect of an ethical study?

Possible Answers:

Anonymity 

Confidentiality

Informed consent

Debriefing

Coercion

Correct answer:

Coercion

Explanation:

Informed consent, confidentiality, anonymity, and debriefing are all aspects of an ethical study. Informed consent means that all subjects were given the necessary information for them to decide whether they wanted to participate in the study, or not. Confidentiality means that the experimenters will not release any information about subjects without their consent. Anonymity means that the experimenter does not know the identity of the subjects. Debriefing is when an experimenter tells the subject more information about the study's purpose and procedures after the study is completed.

Coercion means persuasion via threat or force, so coercion is NOT a feature of an ethical study.

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