making sense of the social world

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In a two paragraph essay, engage with the following questions before class.

  • Is deception of subjects ever justifiable? If so, under what conditions?
  • How might conducting experiments or projects that involve deception of subjects affect the researcher?

I will attach 12 picture from the book



Deception of subjects in an experiment can be justifiable under certain conditions. As long as the deception does not cause physical harm or severe emotional distress to the subjects or any civilians, deception can be justified in an experiment, as it allows evidence that can used and repeated in order to educate people on a certain topic. If not using deception does not produce honest results, deception can be used to find these sought out results.

Conducting experiments or projects that involve deception of subjects might affect the researcher by allowing them to discover other realms of thinking that they did not gather on their own, and which could not be achieved without deception, allowing them to gain more knowledge on the topic they are conducting the experiment over. This is turn gives more research for experimenters to test, which can affect the results of the experiment.


To my understanding and belief, deception of participants is justifiable in some cases and under certain circumstances. Deception is okay if the work is ethical and, since not explained during “informed consent”, the participant is explained the true nature of the experiment after it has been completed. Deception is sometimes necessary in order to achieve a “natural” outcome. For example, the Milgram’s Obedience experiments would not have received a “natural” result had the participants who were “teachers” known that the “students” were not actually receiving an electrical shock. All participants would have made it to the end of the experiment, and therefore the findings would not have been accurate.

The effects on the researcher of deception of participants would likely be beneficial, considering this deception would allow for real world results in a lab setting. It would allow researchers to make accurate discoveries of how participants react to situations/stimuli as well as observe their reactions to a debriefing after the experiment is over. However, if researchers use deception incorrectly, it could damage their reputation by providing inaccurate data. It could also dissuade people from participating in later experiments with them or other researchers if they have negative feelings about the deception when it is explained to them during the debriefing.

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