Skip to main content

Code of Human Research Ethics

This Code sets out a set of general principles that are applicable to all research contexts and are intended to cover all research with human participants. Principles of conduct for psychologists in professional practice and working with non-human animals are to be found in the Society’s Code of Ethics and Conduct and other advisory documents prepared by the Society (such as the Guidelines for Psychologists Working with Animals). It may also be helpful to consult the Health Professions Council (HPC) guidance.

Researchers should respect the rights and dignity of participants in their research and the legitimate interests of stakeholders such as funders, institutions, sponsors and society at large.

There are numerous reasons for behaving ethically. Participants in psychological research should have confidence in the investigators. Good psychological research is only possible if there is mutual respect and trust between investigators and participants.

Psychological investigators are potentially interested in all aspects of human behaviour and experience. However, for ethics reasons, some areas of human experience and behaviour may be beyond the reach of experiment, observation or other form of psychological intervention. Ethics guidelines are necessary to clarify the conditions under which psychological research can take place.