An informed consent can be eliminated in an experiment when?

3 Answers

Monica Stott Profile
Monica Stott answered
  • What is informed consent?
Informed consent is used in law terminology and indicates that a person gives consent to something. Not only do they give their own consent but they are also given all the facts and fully understand what they are giving their consent to.

Establishing whether or not someone is 'informed' can be difficult as it can be hard to realize whether or not a person fully understands what they are confirming. It can be difficult with minors for example of people who suffer from intellectual or emotional immaturity.

People who are disabled, suffer from mental illness, Alzheimer's disease, or people who are intoxicated, in shock or sleep deprived may not be in a position to fully understand what they are consenting to. Also it would not be considered informed, so lawyers have to be careful when people are giving their consent.

  • When can informed consent be eliminated from an experiment?
Informed consent may be eliminated from an experiment when giving consent may change the results. If an experimenter was observing people in their everyday lives and keeping track of their behaviour, they may not inform them of what they are doing because their behaviour would alter. People often behave in a way they think they are expected to behave, particularly when they know they are being observed.

Other experiments where participants are not given all the information they need to give their full consent is when patients are given placebo drugs. If the patient knew it was a placebo it would not have any effect and we could not learn how the placebo affects us mentally.

  • Ethics
It is often considered unethical to not give participants all the information regarding the experiment, but it is necessary to gain accurate results that enable us to learn from them.
Amanda Wells Profile
Amanda Wells answered
In certain cases, usually to do with emergency research, it may be possible to make an exception to the rule that informed consent must be obtained. You can find some medical guidelines here, and as this page is from the food and drug administration, you may be able to ask for further advice there.
Imad Haddad Profile
Imad Haddad answered
Informed consent is not required when performing experiments on wild animals or stray animals that are not owned by anyone.

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