Tests on Students

For his dissertation project in psychology, Antonio is studying new approaches to strengthen memory. He can apply these techniques to create interactive Web-based instructional modules. He plans to test these modules with students in a general psychology course for which he is a teaching assistant. He expects that student volunteers who use the modules will subsequently perform better on examinations than other students. He hopes to publish the results in a conference proceedings on research in learning, because he plans to apply for an academic position after he completes the doctorate.

  1. Should Antonio seek IRB approval for his research project with human participants?

  2. What do students need to be told about Antonio’s project? Do they need to give formal informed consent?

that involve some risk to themselves with no prospect of benefits? How should consent provisions be modified for children, prisoners, the mentally ill, the undereducated, or other vulnerable populations? Should the same provisions apply to all research conducted everywhere in the world, or should standards be modified to reflect local conditions? Formal training in bioethics is sometimes needed to analyze the complex moral issues raised by human participation in research, and various bodies, such as the President’s Council on Bioethics in the United States, are continuing to study these issues. At a minimum, anyone who engages in research that involves humans must be aware of all relevant regulations and have appropriate training.

The use of animals in research and research training is also subject to regulations and professional codes. The federal Animal Welfare Act seeks “to insure that animals intended for use in research facilities … are provided humane care and treatment.” The U.S. Public Health Service’s Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Ani-

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