Deception in Human Subjects Research

This entry examines the use of deception in human subjects research, including the ethical framework in which it is used, regulations and standards governing the use of deception in research, and criticism over the use of deception in two well-known studies. Research studies commonly use deception to control the environment or to minimize potential bias in individuals participating in human research. Generally, deception is defined as providing false or incomplete information to a participant.

When used ethically, deception can protect the integrity of the research while respecting the participant. The practice of using deception in research remains controversial; in fact, some of the most notorious studies in human subjects research history have led directly to increased regulatory requirements because of the questionable ethics of the researchers’ ...

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