Freie Universität Berlin

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Age and appreciation of informed consent texts: development of dynamic consent principles

Principal Investigators: Dr. J. Lüdtke (FUB, Experimental and Neurocognitive Psychology), Prof. Dr. U. Keilholz (CUB, Comprehensive Cancer Center)

Project Summary

Informed consent is obtained for a variety of purposes, including interventional trials, biobanking, and questionnaires to patients and healthy subjects. Currently, informed consent items are governed by legal requirements and Ethics Committees’ oversight, however, limited information is available on how informed consent texts are understood and appreciated by the individuals to whom they are presented. Furthermore, informed consent texts as well as the purpose of specific studies may both be viewed differently by subjects of different age groups, especially if considering a broad life span of subjects. A life span perspective has also take into account age-related alterations in different cognitive and physical domains. It is well documented that these alterations not only affect basic cognitive mechanisms like working memory and language processing. They also influence the ability to absorb content, interpret, and remember it. Also many studies have shown that whereas older adults reach a sufficient level of reading comprehension, older adults may take longer to process ideas in a text, may be more affected by secondary tasks and less able to memorize and remember information stated in the text. The goal is to develop general principles of understandable informed consent texts, and reach agreement of all stakeholders involved in the wide spectrum of empirical research, where informed consent is practiced.

Collaborating Researchers and Institutions: Dr. F. D’Abramo (CUB) & other DynAge groups