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Forsyth, D. R., & Pope, W. R. (1984). Ethical Ideology and Judgments of Social Psychological Research: Multidimensional Analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46(6), 1365–1375. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.46.6.1365


Through multidimensional scaling three factors—potential subject harm, use of manipulative illegitimate procedures, and the ratio between benefits and risks— were identified as the key characteristics associated with moral judgments of social psychological studies. Individuals who endorsed different ethical ideologies, however, differed in their emphasis of these factors. Situationists emphasized risks relative to benefits and the potential for subject harm. Absolutists based their judgments on costs created for participating subjects and the riskiness of the procedures. Subjectivists' judgments were associated with the harmfulness, legitimacy, and invasiveness of the procedures. Exceptionists emphasized the consequentially of the research, as well as scientific legitimacy, magnitude of costs, and deception. These findings are in general consistent with a taxonomy of ethical ideologies based on individual differences in relativism and idealism and have implications for current debates concerning the ethics of social psychological research.