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Quick question for Psychology AS level on Memory

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    Research studies of the working memory model may use case studies of patients with brain damage. Explain ethical considerations when conducting such research [4marks]

    And, is memorising answers using semantic or episodic memory?


    Semantic. Use this diagram attached to help you. (iTeachPsych.tumblr.com is a good website for Psychology revision too)

    Where did you find that question?

    It's asking you what ethical issues are involved with researching people who are brain damaged. I'm not sure what you've been taught about that - I've not taught my students about that.
    There could be distress involved for the patient or deception? Safeguarding for the individual as they will be considered a vulnerable person?

    Off the top of my head, a possible ethical issue is informed consent to the participation in the research. Depending on the memory problems the participants have, even if they sign the consent form if they forget the details immediately or shortly afterwards, can that be considered informed consent? Same goes for the right to withdraw from research, if they forget it happened, can they be said to have the right to withdraw their data? How would you ensure they had all the same rights and ethical considerations every other research participant has?

    More generally with case studies, you have to make sure the participant's information is anonymous but the level of detail in case studies makes that difficult. I'd say this might be even more difficult in a brain damaged sample because normally papers in this area will explain how the brain damage occurred, which might make the participant recognisable.

    I don't know if this is strictly an ethical issue in the sense they're looking for, but the application of case study data to a larger population isn't the best idea generally. Maybe more so in the case of brain damage because honestly, we don't know enough about brains to make those kinds of leaps. Sometimes damage to different areas has the same behavioural results/ damage to a seemingly similar area shows different behavioural results. You'd have to be careful about how you would report any findings to make sure you weren't making claims you shouldn't be (that's an ethics issue, right?)
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