Informed Consent and Dual Purpose Research
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The ethical treatment of human participants in psychological research is regulated by both federal guidelines and the ethical standards of the American Psychological Association (APA). Under certain circumstances, however, both APA standards and federal regulations allow for exceptions for informed consent. In spite of the possibility of exception, a number of factors have made it difficult to conduct and publish research that does not incorporate informed consent. The authors consider these factors and propose 2 approaches that may reduce reluctance to consider exceptions to informed consent under appropriate circumstances. First, journals should not rely on informed consent as the only method of screening research for the ethical treatment of human participants. Second, efforts must be made to work with institutional review boards and other units that review psychological research to ensure that their members are aware of the conditions under which informed consent is considered reasonable. Failure to consider ethical research without informed consent may have serious ethical consequences for research.