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ETHICS. Tristram Jones, Ph.D. Kaplan University, PS517, Unit IX. Why do we bother ?. Well we have the reputation for ethics abuses going all the way back to John B. Watson. The very roots of behavioral study seemed tainted with cruelty!.

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Tristram Jones, Ph.D.

Kaplan University, PS517, Unit IX

why do we bother
Why do we bother?
  • Well we have the reputation for ethics abuses going all the way back to John B. Watson.
the very roots of behavioral study seemed tainted with cruelty
The very roots of behavioral study seemed tainted with cruelty!

John B Watson spent a good deal of 1920 scaring the heck

out of a year-old baby named Little Albert at Johns Hopkins!

even before that dedicated researchers were pioneering the concept of reinforcement
Even before that, dedicated researchers were pioneering the concept of reinforcement!
  • In NegativeReinforcement a particular behavior is strengthened by the consequence of the stopping or avoiding of a negative condition.
positive punishment
“Positive” Punishment?
  • Positive punishment occurs when a negative consequence is applied in response to an undesired behavior. Positive punishment can decrease the likelihood that the behavior will continue.
world war ii worsened the scientific image as german scientists worked avidly for hitler s ss
World War II worsened the scientific image as German scientists worked avidly for Hitler’s SS
soviet psychiatry
Soviet Psychiatry

Cold War Soviet psychiatry was in the trusted hands of Dr Andrei Snezhnevsky for decades. He invented “creeping schizophrenia” wherein schizophrenia remains latent and until it blossoms as political dissidence. Exiled Writer Vladimir Bukovsky, now at Cambridge University, notes: "This means nobody knows whether he is schizophrenic or not unless Professor Snezhnevsky diagnoses it."


in the 1970s the brainwashing associated with stockholm syndrome was first noted
In the 1970s the “brainwashing” associated with Stockholm Syndrome was first noted!
what the heck is it
What the heck is it??

The syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm, Sweden, in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage from August 23 to August 28 in 1973. In this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their victimizers, and even defended their captors after they were freed from their six-day ordeal.

karen s code
Karen’s Code:

Karen Kitchener got to work on that problem!

Six Kitchenerian ethical principles:

  • Autonomy: Allow self governance
  • Beneficence: Show kindness
  • Nonmaleficence: Be free of evil intent.
  • Justice: Fairness, equality and truthfulness
  • Fidelity: Honor commitments
  • Compassion: Authentic caring and concern.
as you might expect the apa and aca ethics codes also stress confidentiality exceptions are
As you might expect, the APA and ACA ethics codes also stress confidentiality! Exceptions are:

•Child abuse or neglect•Elder abuse or neglect•Dependent adult abuse or neglect•Serious threats to harm others•A court order compelling a therapist to testify or release therapeutic information to the court.•Serious threats to harm self or commit suicide.

And…Case consultation with other mental health professionals for the benefit of client’s therapy

analyst s responsibility to clients
Analyst’s responsibility to Clients

The behavior analyst has a responsibility to

operate in the best interest of clients.

assessing behavior
Assessing Behavior

Behavior analysts refrain from misuse of assessment techniques, interventions, results, and interpretations and take reasonable steps to prevent others from misusing the information these techniques provide.

the behavior change program
The behavior change program…

The behavior analyst minimizes the use of items as potential reinforcers that may be harmful to the long-term health of the client or participant!

behavior analyst as a teacher
Behavior Analyst as a Teacher

Function as a teacher always willing to disseminate insight!

responsibility to the field and colleagues
Responsibility to the Field and Colleagues

Behavior analysts have an obligation to bring attention to and resolve ethical violations

by colleagues.


responsibility to society
Responsibility to Society

The behavior analyst promotes the general welfare of society

through the application of the principles of behavior.

undeniably aba is all about changing people in rather dramatic ways
Undeniably, ABA is all about changing people in rather dramatic ways!
  • Who decides what is acceptable as change?
  • Who decides who can manage this change?
  • What methods are ethical?
  • How can we be sure the desired outcome is ethical?
  • What oversight exists?
walker shea s guidelines
Walker & Shea’s Guidelines:
  • Explore alternatives before using aversive interventions.
  • Consider possible side effects
  • See that the subject understands the experiment
  • Empirical evidence should indicate the intervention will work
  • Informed consent must be obtained
  • Committee review of all human subjects research
ethical considerations with children
Ethical Considerations with Children
  • What is a child?
  • Can children choose?
  • Where should the

change take place?

  • Who decides what


will be attempted?

  • Who decides who

should be changed?






Social Validityis a trendy term meaning the conditions of your intervention are acceptable and the targeted behavior is acceptable to change.

Ever since

you removed my brain my

friends avoid


Yes, but

you no



it can also mean sadly that your intervention meets a current social standard
It can also mean, sadly, that your intervention meets a current social standard!

In medieval Europe

this radical form of

aversion therapy

displayed great