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Ethics and The Truman Show sample essay

In Psychological research, the importance of the building of trust and protection of individuals’ rights relies on the Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics, compiled by The Australian Psychological Society (APS) provides guidelines that must be followed when working with people and animals in research situations and all other areas of professional practice (Grivas & Carter, 2005). The importance of maintaining several ethical standards is highlighted in the present discussion, with reference to the film The Truman Show (2008). The ethical standards include Confidentiality, Informed Consent, The Right to Withdraw and No Harm to Participants.

Confidentiality and Informed Consent are all important ethical principles that are related to the film The Truman Show. Confidentiality is that participants have a right to privacy. This is important so participants’ private information is not shared with the whole world. An example of this being breached is when Truman is born in front of a world audience, on a TV show that millions of people are watching 24/7. Informed Consent is that wherever possible, the participants must be appropriately informed of what the study is about and the reasons it’s being conducted (Grivas & Carter, 2005). This ethical principle is important so that the participant knows what is going on. An example of this being violated in the film is that Truman does not know his life is a TV show, so he must not have been told the necessary details and reasons why the experiment is being conducted. Both of these main ethical standards, Confidentiality and Informed Consent are breached in the film The Truman Show.

The Right to Withdraw and No Harm to Participants are both important ethical standards that are related to the film The Truman Show. The Right to Withdraw ensures that the participant knows that they are free to withdraw from the study at any time. This is important so that the participant doesn’t feel pressured to stay in the experiment if they change their mind and decide they do not want to participate any more. An example of this being violated in the film is when Truman wants to go to Fiji to escape his strange reality, and there are no plane flights until a few months away, so he cannot leave. No Harm To Participants is that participants must not be harmed in any way (Grivas & Carter, 2005). This is important so that participants do not get mentally or physically harmed in the experiment. An example of this being breached in the film, is that Truman is mentally unwell because he was so unsure of what was going on around him. He began to feel a false sense of security, especially when he realised that the same things were happening each day, and the same people were popping in and out of his life everyday. Both of these main ethical principles are violated in the film The Truman Show.

Ethics are important in psychological research because they ensure privacy and safety for the participants. The APS has compiled their own set of guidelines, known as the Code of Ethics. This set of standards includes a number of principles which must be followed in psychological studies. Some of these principles include Confidentiality, Informed Consent, The Right to Withdraw and No Harm to Participants. These standards are all related to the film The Truman Show, in which they are all violated.

References
Carter, L. & Grivas, J. (2005) Psychology for the VCE Student. Units 1and 2 (5th Ed.) Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd. p. 81-88.

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