Researchers in the twenty-first century face a set of challenges unknown to researchers a half century ago—the need to justify the moral acceptability of their research methods through formal review processes. However, the role that moral constraints play in the development and demise of scientific theories has largely gone unappreciated. The rise of Institutional Review Boards (IRB) in the 1960s compounded the impact of moral constraints on scientific research and on the theories that develop out of such highly monitored research. To demonstrate the effects of moral constraints on scientific theory and research, this paper offers a history and analysis of the interaction between evolving moral standards and twentieth century emotion theory. Recommendations regarding IRB reform are also reviewed. The paper concludes by arguing that, while appropriate IRB reform is important, it cannot eliminate the need for careful reflection on the broader forces that shape scientific practice and understanding.
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Schachter and Singer experiment