Two studies examined how research methodology affected participant behaviors. Study 1 tested (a) consent form perspective (1st, 2nd, or 3rd person) and (b) information on participants’ right to sue upon perceptions of coercion, ability to recall consent information, and performance on experimental tasks. Unexpectedly, participants who received instructions without the right to sue information had significantly better recall of their research rights. Study 2 manipulated (a) consent form complexity (presence or absence of jargon) and (b) the detail of verbal instructions (simple, elaborate); participants who received a consent form with simpler language spent more time on a difficult task, and participants in the elaborate instruction condition recalled more details. Together, these studies suggest (a) explaining the right to sue may actually be counterproductive; (b) providing a more detailed explanation may help participants remember procedural details; and (c) using jargon may decrease task performance.
Heider, Jeremy D.; Hartnett, Jessica L.; Perez, Emmanuel J.; and Edlund, John E., "Perceptions and understanding of research situations as a function of consent form characteristics and experimenter instructions" (2020). Faculty Publications. 11.
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