The tax-payer’s role in psychological research.

Countless research studies are being conducted every year in order to investigate the different influences on human behaviour. Some of these research experiments have been conducted on a suprisingly low budget and manage to demonstrate astonishing results regardless of their simplicity. For example, Asch (1951) conducted an extremely well-known study exploring the influences of large social groups on conformity. His study demonstrated ground-breaking results that suggested that people are much more likely to feel pressured into conforming when situated within a group of strangers (Cherry, 2010). However on the other hand, some studies need a significantly larger budget in order to be conducted. For example, Zimbardo (1971) also conducted a study in order to investigte the effects of conformity in social enviroenments. He created a reconstruction of a prison-like environment and recruited one group of participants to act a prison guides and another group of participants to act as prisoners (Cherry, 2010). Similarily to Asch, he also found that people have a tendancy to conform in social environments especially under the influence of authority. Furthermore, experiments such as these ones contribute pivotal findings to the knowledge of human behaviour and the field of psychology, however although it is important that the field of psychology is regularly evolved, one can argue that the conclusions drawn by Zimbardo ‘s study states more than less the same principle as Asch even though the budget for both studies were probably at completely opposite ends of the scale. One wonders whether it is a good investment to conduct expensive studies if simple and non-expensive ones such as Asch’s study on conformity demonstrate results that are just as informing as the ones obtained by the complex, longtidual and expensive study that was conducted by Zimbardo.

Most Brittish studies are funded by the gouvernment therefore the Brittish tax-payers fund thousands of Brittish psychological research experiments every year. During the last few years, it would be fair to say that the Brittish finance situation has not been at it’s very best. Although I believe that funding psychological research is incredibly important, I believe that the tax-payers’ money should contribute towards far more important things. For example, thousands of Brittish citizens are currently unemployed due to the countless number of buisnesses that have been forced to close down because of the latest reccession, I believe that the gouvernment’s priority should lay with the current state of the country’s financial worries rather than funding research studies that attempt to re-contruct experiments that have already been conducted in order to obtain stronger evidence. For example, the gouvernment could benefit hunderds of people by providing the same financial contribution to a small buisness rather than funding a researcher to obtain the use of an fMRI scan. Therefore, although I believe that the development of psychological evidence is incredibly important in order to gather in-depth knowledge about human behaviour, I think that the gouvernment should consider placing their priorities in situations where people do genuinely need the financial support much more.


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