Front Page Titles (by Subject) Privacy and Autonomy - Literature of Liberty, October/December 1978, vol. 1, No. 4
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Privacy and Autonomy - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, October/December 1978, vol. 1, No. 4 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Privacy and Autonomy
“Privacy and Research with Human Beings.” Journal of Social Issues 33 (1977): 169–195.
Social psychology, because of its focus on personal facts and feelings, has a dangerous potential of invading the privacy of the participants in research studies. Kelman uses a definition of privacy developed by Ruebhausen and Brim: privacy is “the freedom of the individual to pick and choose for himself the time and circumstances under which, and most importantly, the extent to which, his attitudes, beliefs, behavior and opinions are to be shared with or withheld from others.” Research participants are in a vulnerable position regarding invasions of privacy since they are often unable to determine what information about themselves they will reveal. Furthermore, once disclosure occurs, they lack control over how that information will be disseminated. The author discusses the potential abuses that exist in a variety of different research-procedures including participant observation, unobtrusive observation, field experiments, laboratory experiments, laboratory experiments, questionnaires and tests, and interview studies.
One important psychological function of privacy is to preserve our sense of an “autonomous self.” We have a desire to establish and maintain an acknowledged boundary between self and environment, a feeling of physical and psychological space which can be entered only by our invitation. A central part of this is the inviolability of our bodies and of our possessions. This aspect of privacy extends to the exchanges which occur within certain relationships, e.g., interactions with our friends, lover(s), physician, attorney, or priest. Kelman surveys various psychological research studies which involve violations of private space without informed consent. These studies seem “tantamount to spying.” We can minimize invasions of privacy by avoiding deliberate intrusions with prior consent and by the rejection of methods which involve deception, coercion, manipulation, or misrepresentation.