Deception is termed as an act that makes people belief events that are not true. Manipulation of the mind of the people by various means such as dissimulation, distraction, camouflage and concealment are termed as deception. These techniques are used to learn certain truths from people. It also helps people to hide the truth from other people. In this context, the essay deals with the concept of deception in psychology. The essay analyses the effectiveness of deception techniques that are used in the psychological treatment of people. Ethical standards and codes are also analysed in order to understand whether the deception techniques used by psychologists are acceptable.
According to Granhag, Vrij and Verschuere (2015), most psychologists around the world use deception techniques in order to understand the problems of the patients. The psychologists act as friends in order to identify the causes behind the psychological trauma of the individuals. The researchers are deceived by means of various techniques and beliefs. At some point in time, they are made to believe that they have killed a person. This leads to major psychological trauma of a person. Sometimes it may also lead to the physical pain of a person. In this regard, most psychologists believe that the method of deception is not acceptable for research purpose.
In the words of Grefenstette (2014), most psychologists believe that deception of a person cannot be prevented all the time. Even with the careful precautionary measures, subjects may be harmed unintentionally. In some critical cases, it is necessary to deceive the person for trying to cure them in an effective manner. This is normally seen in the case of cure of altruism. People suffering from altruism need to be deceived and distressed due to the nature of the study. Hence, despite taking preventive measures the mental or physical damage that is caused in this case cannot be prevented.
Some of the methods that are implemented by psychologists include lies, understatements and concealment and so on. These are adopted effectively and efficiently used in order to understand the mentality of the person. According to Baughman, Lyons and Vernon (2014), the psychologists use these methods in order to access the human participants in an effective manner. Some psychologists do not indulge in deceptive studies of a patient unless they feel that it is necessary to earn the trusts by deception method. It has also been seen that psychologists discriminate between people on whom the deceptive behaviour is applied.
This is done in order to prevent the physical or mental pain that it may cause on the person. Some psychologists also use the method of deception in order to take efficient care of the person. Later after the conclusion of care, the data received from the person are returned back or destroyed in order to maintain the confidentiality of the patient. The deception is based on the context of the messages that have been exchanged between the patients and psychologists (Boush, Friestad & Wright, 2015). In this regard, examples of famous studies in which deception has been used in order by psychologists can be examined.
One example that can be stated is the Rosenhan's study of ‘sane in insane places'. The participants involved in this research had to deceive the hospital members in order to acquire the desired results. The staffs have also deceived that lead to the follow up of the study. This case study defines the positive effect deception can have on curing a patient. Burgoon, Moffitt & Spitzley (2016) stated that the uncertainty of the research brought about a cure for schizophrenia and other similar disorders. The number of patients reduced in the institution due to this problem was also reduced.
Another example that can be provided is the study of Tuskegee Syphilis. The study was conducted for 40 years during which time none of the participants were made aware of the fact that they were suffering from syphilis. Despite finding an effective cure for the disease by using penicillin, the psychologists did not administer it in order to maintain the deceptive study. Many scholars including Akerlof & Shiller (2015) considered this study as one of the most infamous cases in psychology. This also led to major changes in the US law regarding the use of deception as a means of psychological analysis.
It has been seen that misleading and deception has been considered as unethical by many people. Specific emphasis has been made in psychological services that are provided to the patients. The ethical considerations that need to be considered include respecting the rights of the people, incorporating benefits of responsibilities to clients and reflecting the needs of the psychologists to possess good character (Bland?n-Gitlin et al., 2014). These ethical considerations can help an individual to remain active in terms of adopting a deceptive method for curing patients. Misleading or confusing people also need to be avoided by the psychologists.
Ceci et al., (2013) stated that the use of deception on a participant can be allowed if the patients have been informed about the purpose of the psychological tests. In the cases stated above the participants were not involved in the purpose of conducting research upon them. One of the deceptive techniques may have brought bright results, but the use of this method is deemed to be unethical in every manner. It is also necessary to inform all the participants about the nature of the test. This can help in making sure that any negative consequence can be mitigated.
Thus, it can be concluded that the use of deception as a method of psychological treatment should not be considered. The physical or the mental breakdown that people may endure can result in the rise of violent behaviour among the people. The case studies described provide a proper analysis of the possible problems that may arise in the case of using deception as a means of treatment. Acquiring information about people need to be undertaken in a proper manner without violating any ethical codes or behaviour.
Akerlof, G. A., & Shiller, R. J. (2015). Phishing for phools: The economics of manipulation and deception. Princeton University Press.
Baughman, H. M., Lyons, M., & Vernon, P. A. (2014). Liar liar pants on fire: Cheater strategies linked to the Dark Triad. Personality and Individual Differences, 71, 35-38.
Bland?n-Gitlin, I., Fenn, E., Masip, J., & Yoo, A. H. (2014). Cognitive-load approaches to detect deception: searching for cognitive mechanisms. Trends in cognitive sciences, 18(9), 441-444.
Boush, D. M., Friestad, M., & Wright, P. (2015). Deception in the marketplace: The psychology of deceptive persuasion and consumer self-protection. Routledge.
Burgoon, J., Moffitt, K., & Spitzley, L. (2016). Which spoken language markers identify deception in high-stakes settings? Evidence from earnings conference calls. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 35(2), 123-157.
Ceci, S. J., Leichtman, M. D., Putnick, M., Leichtman, M., & Putnick, M. E. (Eds.). (2013). Cognitive and social factors in early deception. Psychology Press.
Granhag, P. A., Vrij, A., & Verschuere, B. (Eds.). (2015). Detecting deception: current challenges and cognitive approaches. John Wiley & Sons.
Grefenstette, J. J. (2014). Deception Considered Harmful sk. Foundations of Genetic Algorithms 1993 (FOGA 2), 2, 75.