Psychological Testing

October 10th, 2011

1. What are at least two ethical issues associated with psychological testing?  What impact do these issues have on the field of psychological testing?

Ethical issues in psychological testing are extremely important to understand. One ethical issue is the right to privacy. If an individual is being tested by a professional, he or she must know that their information is to be protected. That is why there is a patient/confidentiality agreement unless there is harm to oneself or others brought into the equation. Another ethical issue in psychological testing is informed consent. The individual being tested and or treated must be aware and fully understand the process. The individual needs to know what the test is for and how the results will be used. These issues have a huge impact on the field, if professionals did as they pleased and did not follow a code of ethics than the entire field and testing would become irrelevant and unreliable. The right to privacy and informed consent are the two biggest issues in my opinion as they have so many loop holes and many issues may arise if not completed properly. Having your information protected and making sure that the results are used for proper information is not only an ethical concern but could become a situation with the law if not done properly.

2. What are at least two legal issues associated with psychological testing?  How do these issues affect the field of psychological testing?

One legal issue that can arise from psychological testing is one done by employers. If employers are giving prospective or current employees a “personality test” or “skills and abilities test,” these could come up with certain results. Resulting in mental capacity. If the test results show that one has a certain mental disorder, the company cannot discriminate if the potential employee can move up or be hired. This falls under the ADA rule. Results showing disorders like depressive or schizophrenic and having the company use that against the candidate is extremely illegal. Another legal issue that can arise is privacy. If the subject feels that the professional is not using his or her results properly or sharing with others can come into the field of privacy laws. Each state and test has their own law associated with it. If one is unhappy or doesn’t understand, that person could make a privacy claim. These issues affect the field because professionals could lose their licenses to practice and even worse end up incarcerated.  As professionals, there is a code of conduct, ethics, and laws they must follow, if not the consequences will be rendered necessary.


3. Which court case do you feel has had the largest impact on the field of psychological testing?  Why?

I cannot think of one specific case that has the largest impact, however the few I think that had the largest impact were those of Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, and Ed Gein. All three were serial killers. Charles Manson was a cult leader and brain washer along with a murderer. He helped us determine how some people act and how his followers act, and why they follow. Ted Bundy was antisocial and highly intelligent. Most could not grasp how an intelligent, well off man could be a serial killer. Ed Gein was not just a murderer, but disfigured the bodies, piece by piece. I feel that these 3 cases were highly important as each one has fooled people. Charles Manson led people to believe outrageous beliefs causing his followers to kill. Bundy was believed to be an intelligent well off individual that would never commit a crime. Gein was a quiet individual and no one thought he was capable of what he did. These all are important in psychology as we are wanting to know the what and why behind motivations and actions in others.

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