Enhancing Ethical Literacy of Psychologically Literate Citizens

Graham R. Davidson and Shirley A. Morrissey

in The Psychologically Literate Citizen

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794942
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914500 | DOI:
Enhancing Ethical Literacy of Psychologically Literate Citizens

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Included in the concept of a psychologically literate citizen is an expectation that psychology baccalaureates will learn to behave ethically and humanely at work and in other everyday contexts. Moreover, guidelines for psychology education in Australia and the United States require some instruction in ethics at the undergraduate level. This chapter argues, however, based on analyses of undergraduate psychology syllabi, that there is insufficient attention on ethics instruction to ensure psychology baccalaureates are adequately prepared to manage the ethical challenges of an increasingly complex, global society. Graduates require not only a vocabulary for ethical decision making but also some basic philosophical understanding of that vocabulary if they are to negotiate successfully the ethical challenges inherent in the workplace, in relationships, and in society at large. Greater emphasis needs to be placed in undergraduate psychology curricula on fostering moral transcendentalism through ethics instruction that imparts some knowledge of moral philosophy, teaches the vocabulary of ethics, familiarises students with models of ethical decision making, encourages dialogue through which teachers and students encounter, interpret and share moral wisdom, and allows students to practise being ethical. The chapter briefly examines various, suitable techniques for exposing these storied accounts of moral wisdom, including role-play, case conferencing, moot ethics committees, analysis of film and literature, problem based learning, and other integrative techniques.

Keywords: psychology baccalaureate; psychological literacy; moral theory; instructional approaches; ethical decision making

Chapter.  6806 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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