Poster Session B, Sunday, March 24, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Consent appreciation and reasoning in patients with impaired executive functions and normal healthy adults
Katrina Okerstrom-Jezewski1, Daniel Tranel1, Steven Anderson1; 1The University of Iowa
Neuroscientists study patients with diseases and disorders that impair cognition, but there are no specific recommendations on how to consent participants with cognitive impairments. While general cognitive ability is related to the ability to consent, called consent capacity, it is unknown how consent capacity is related to specific cognitive impairments. Most research focuses on understanding consent materials, with a neglect for the ability to apply the information to the participant’s situation (appreciation) and use of logical reasoning to come to a decision. We hypothesize that impaired executive functions are associated with poorer appreciation and reasoning in the consent process. This study examines appreciation and reasoning for a hypothetical vaccine study in patients with impaired executive functioning (EF, n=5), patients with brain damage but lacking significant cognitive impairment (BDC, n=3), and normal healthy adults (NCP, n=5). Descriptive statistics were used to characterize composite and item scores. These findings suggest that EF participants have poorer appreciation but similar reasoning when compared to other participants. Item analysis suggests variability was due to misconceptions of why the participant was being asked to participate and whether they would be put in a control group. Further research is needed to identify if these patterns generalize to other research scenarios and if these errors stem from misunderstanding or failed appreciation. This work has implications for researchers consenting participants with impaired executive functions and identifies targets for a personalized consent process tailed to individual cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Other