Participants' postexperimental reactions and the ethics of bystander research

Shalom H. Schwartz*, Avi Gottlieb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Researchers and review boards lack an empirical base for evaluating the ethics of proposed research procedures. This paper contributes to such a base by reporting participants' postexperimental affective reactions to bystander experiments employing deception and their evaluations of the ethics of these experiments. Anonymous "ethics" questionnaires were administered to 231 subjects who had participated in one of three laboratory experiments on helping and had been debriefed. Participants reported very little negative affect. Most viewed the research as ethically justified, and found their participation both instructive and enjoyable. There was little variation in reactions as a function of subjects' sex, the particular experiment they had participated in, and their behavior during the experiment. Implications of these findings for assessing the ethics of future deceptive and stressful research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-407
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1981


Dive into the research topics of 'Participants' postexperimental reactions and the ethics of bystander research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this