Psychology and the Law

The four roles that psychologists may engage in through the legal system and ethical dilemmas that arise within each role Basic scientist In this role, the psychologist conducts a research for personal gain. The main purpose of the research is not to get results but for one to have fun and gain own knowledge and understanding. However, in spite of the research being done for personal gain, the results are sometimes important in trials and case studies. By performing this role an ethical dilemma arises on morality and law. Psychologists are guided by morality and hence make decisions on whether the outcome is morally right or wrong.

In trials the decisions made are guided by the law. The law makes the final ruling which might not be morality right in the perspective of the psychologist. Applied Scientist In performing this role the psychologist conducts researches to solve problems in life. They study their patients’ problems in order to help them achieve their personal goals. Research done is usually more intense and thus produces more results. The problems are solved through collaborative data collection and interpretation which in turn leads to the development of appropriate strategies (Schneider et al, 2005).

Most psychologists perform this role as their studies focus on getting findings, statistics and answers to the problems at hand. The ethical dilemma arises on the role of the scientific methodology, whether psychology is a natural science or a social science. The psychologist researches in order to solve problems in life thereby making the discipline to be seen as a natural science. On the other hand, it is involved in solving problems which are being experienced by people thereby making it part of social science. Policy Evaluator

Psychologists act as policy evaluators as they are given the mandate to evaluate people, studies or even companies. in performing this role psychologists utilize the research methods of social science in evaluating the process and outcome of interventions (Schneider et al, 2005). They evaluate people by studying their behaviors, characteristics, thoughts, feelings and many others. In evaluating studies they make sure the studies are reliable and valid while in company evaluation psychologists make sure that the company is on track in achieving its objectives and if not they provide advice on how to achieve them.

Scientists and policy evaluators are two different people and thus view things differently. What might be ethical in the scientific field may not be ethical in policy making and evaluation. Policy evaluation depends on fixed principles while in science the results are made depending on researches done. An ethical dilemma arises since the two roles have different guidelines; one is guided by law while the other depends on morality.