The tragedy of David Reimer;Born a boy,brought up a girl!

Psychologists are always trying to answer questions regarding humans’ behavior and attitudes. Therefore, they are always in searching journey. The question is how do they do this research. in other words, what are the methodologies that they use and not just the type of methodology used. But the way it’s applied could turn a useful, successful methodology into a disastrous unethical one.

Unfortunately number of psychologists fall in an ethical dilemma trap. They forget all about being a human and play the role of a scientist very intensively which makes them value the end results more than the resulting harm from their experiments.

click here to Watch a brief of David’s story.

Nature brought him as a boy but he's nurtured to be a girl!!
Nature brought him as a boy but he’s nurtured to be a girl!!

Dr. Money’s experimental method using David as a disadvantage child as his dependent variable and the way he is nurtured as a girl his independent variable is an obvious example of a psychologists who’s eagerness to prove his hypothesis drove him into committing actions of deception and manipulation. since, he didn’t tell the family his true intention in carrying out the plastic surgery for their son and bringing him up as a girl. Consequently, Dr. Money didn’t obtain any kind of informed consent or any consent even as the parents knew nothing that about their child is engaging in an experiment. What’s even worse, it lead him to forget his main role as a consultant and instead of giving professional advice for the patient’s family, he acted selfishly. Moreover, what about the poor child? is it okay to take a life changing decision for someone only because he saw an opportunity in their case. he didn’t think of a real solution to the Remeirs.

Unlike most of the researcher, Dr.Money didn’t need to make up a cover story for his experiment. In other words, his cover story is in a form of ” offering the only possible solution to the parents” He took advantage of their desperate need to any solution and gave them the solution that will solve his problem to carry out the experiment and not the one that will solve the child’s problem.

Being a psychologist Dr. Money should’ve a clue on how miserable the child’s life would be in the future. He should’ve have thought of all the possible psychological consequences that will cause disturbance in the child’s upbringing.

For that one reason; not considering the ethical dimension of the experiment and ignoring the harm that the experiment might cause for the child and his family. The result is; destroying an entire family; Depressed alcoholic father, suicidal mother, depressed brother and suicidal of the victim, david who decided to be a boy again in the age of 14 after noticing the tragic incidence that happened to him when he was young.

The dilemma will remain  as long as we are not able to weigh the benefits of the research versus the ethical costs..

Maggie. (n.d.). Retrieved from


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