Write a 5–7-page assessment in which you examine the controversy related to research and ethics in the field of social psychology.

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It is essential to be able to critically analyze the research methods used in studies, in order to weigh the validity of the conclusions or recommendations.


By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

  • Competency 1: Apply information literacy and research skills to locate scholarly information in the field of social psychology.
  • Use valid, scholarly research resources relevant to the field of social psychology.
  • Competency 4: Examine the research methods frequently used in the study of social psychology.
  • Describe the impact of controversial research studies on the human participants.
  • Competency 5: Examine controversial research studies in social psychology from an ethical standpoint.
  • Explain how controversial research studies contributed to the development of ethical standards in the field of psychology.
  • Develop evidence-based arguments for and against controversial research studies in the field of social psychology.
  • Describe what controversial research studies revealed about conformity and obedience to authority.
  • Competency 6: Apply critical thinking skills to resolve conflicts and issues in the field of social psychology.
  • Determine whether knowledge gained justifies controversial research studies in the field of social psychology.
  • Competency 7: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for professionals in the field of psychology.
  • Write coherently to support a central idea with correct grammar, usage, and mechanics as expected of a psychology professional.

Use APA format and style.

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Is conformity good or bad? Are people willing to hurt one another just because an authority told them to? Some of the most fascinating research results about human behavior were intending to answer these very questions. The results on the topics of social conformity and obedience to authority revealed some disturbing revelations about human behavior and about potential harm to participants in research. The studies and their results had tremendous implications for the field on how we conduct research—and on how we understand the influence of social pressure and leadership. Because of the significant implications in both research and application, these studies have been some of the most controversial and hotly debated topics in psychology.


To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

  • Is deception always necessary when conducting research in social psychology with human participants?

Do the insights gained from research justify deceiving people?


Suggested Resources

The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful context. For additional resources, refer to the Research Resources and Supplemental Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom.

Library Resources

The following e-books or articles from the Capella University Library are linked directly in this course. Note: Some of the articles listed are fairly old and are included here because they are considered seminal works in the field.