On conducting ethically-sound psychological science in the metaverse

Article


Cockerton, T., Zhu, Y. and Dhami, M. 2024. On conducting ethically-sound psychological science in the metaverse. American Psychologist. 79 (1), pp. 92-108. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0001211
TypeArticle
TitleOn conducting ethically-sound psychological science in the metaverse
AuthorsCockerton, T., Zhu, Y. and Dhami, M.
Abstract

As the next generation of the internet, the metaverse is an immersive three-dimensional (3D) world that incorporates both physical and virtual environments. The metaverse affords numerous advantages for advancing our theoretical and practical understanding of human cognition, emotion, and behavior, as well as shaping our methodological approach to conducting psychological science. However, undertaking research in a world which merges the physical and virtual, also presents new and unique ethical challenges that are not addressed by current ethical guidelines such as the Belmont Report, the American Psychology Association Code of Ethics, and the Association of Internet Researchers Internet Research Ethical Guidelines. We discuss the different domains of the metaverse relevant to psychological research, and consider how three categories of ethical challenges (i.e., ‘respect for persons’, ‘beneficence’, and ‘justice’) may arise when conducting research in the metaverse. We also provide recommendations for addressing these challenges which include reconfiguring existing ethical guidelines as well as creating new ones. Together, these can inform and assist researchers and institutional review boards in making decisions about conducting ethically-sound psychological science in the metaverse.

Keywordsmetaverse; research ethics; virtual reality; human digital twins; Belmont Report
Sustainable Development Goals10 Reduced inequalities
Middlesex University ThemeCreativity, Culture & Enterprise
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
JournalAmerican Psychologist
ISSN0003-066X
Electronic1935-990X
Publication dates
Online01 Jan 2024
Print01 Jan 2024
Publication process dates
Deposited14 Jun 2023
Submitted11 Aug 2022
Accepted01 Jun 2023
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright Statement

Copyright © American Psychological Association, 2024. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. The final article is available at: https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0001211

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0001211
Related Output
Is supplemented byhttps://doi.org/10.1037/amp0001211.supp
LanguageEnglish
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