Tag Archives: IRB

Issues of Research Ethics in the Facebook ‘Mood Manipulation’ Study: The Importance of Multiple Perspectives

 

By: Michelle Broaddus, Ph.D.

A new study using Facebook data to study “emotional contagion,” and the ensuing backlash of its publication offers the opportunity to examine several ethical principles in research. One of the pillars of ethically conducted research is balancing the risks to the individual participants against the potential benefits to society or scientific knowledge. While the study’s effects were quite small, the authors argue that “given the massive scale of social networks such as Facebook, even small effects can have large aggregated consequences.” However, participants were not allowed to give informed consent, which constitutes a risk of the research and the major source of the backlash.

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Issues of Research Ethics in the Facebook ‘Mood Manipulation’ Study: The Importance of Multiple Perspectives (full text)

 

By: Michelle Broaddus, Ph.D.

A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes a mood manipulation experiment conducted by Facebook scientists during one week in 2012 that suggests evidence of “emotional contagion,” or the spread of positive and negative affect between people. The backlash to this publication has been significant. As two examples, Slate.com published a piece entitled “Facebook’s Unethical Experiment: It intentionally manipulated users’ emotions without their knowledge” and The Atlantic’s piece, “Even the Editor of Facebook’s Mood Study Thought It Was Creepy.”

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What can you do with a degree in ethics? Video of Careers in Ethics Panel now available.

Dr. Adam L. Fried with the other members of the Careers in Ethics Panel

Dr. Adam L. Fried with the other members of the Careers in Ethics Panel. Click on photo to watch a video of the panel discussion.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of ethics, it is relevant and necessary in everything from medicine, business and journalism, to psychology, law, and environmental studies. Ethics is interesting to study, but what are the career options in the field?

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Improved Regulations to Protect Human Research Subjects Would Reduce Burden on IRBs While Better Protecting Study Participants

NAS

Proposed updates to federal regulations that protect human research subjects need additional clarification when applied to the social and behavioral sciences, says a new report from the National Research Council.  Fordham University Center for Ethics Education Director Dr. Celia B. Fisher was a member of the committee and an author of the report.

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Will Proposed Changes to Federal Regulations Impact Barriers to Research Involving Children and Adolescents?

For the first time in twenty years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is considering changes to a portion of federal regulations governing research known as the “Common Rule” (45 CFR 46, 2009; Subpart A). At present, the proposed changes are not sufficiently sensitive to the potential impact on research involving infants, children and adolescents.

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