How Do We Really Communicate? Challenging the Assumptions behind Informed Consent Interventions

How Do We Really Communicate? Challenging the Assumptions behind Informed Consent Interventions
Article
Stephanie Solomon Cargill
Ethics & Human Research, 23 July 2019
Abstract
It is generally accepted that ethical research requires valid informed consent and that current informed consent practice frequently fails to attain it. Interventions concerning the content and methods of communication in informed consent have met with limited success. One explanation is that they reflect an outdated and limited model of how communication functions, the transmission model of communication. This model assumes that communication is linear, is limited in time, and succeeds when the content of a message is passed from one person to another without distortion. Later communication models have challenged the limitations and inaccuracies of this model, emphasizing the continuous, contextual, and relational nature of communication. Looking beyond these assumptions behind current interventions can open multiple paths of research and intervention that have the potential to affect and improve the informed consent process in much greater ways than have been achieved previously.

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