How Do IRB Members Make Decisions? A Review and Research Agenda
Pritchard, Ivor A
Journal of empirical research on human research ethics : JERHRE 2011 Jun; 6(2): 31-46
Many factors have been found to influence the nature and quality of the human research ethics review process. These are reviewed along with discussion of ways in which normal psychological characteristics and group decision-making processes may affect the decisions of institutional review board (IRB) members when reviewing proposed research activities, and may contribute to the acknowledged variability of IRB responses to identical research proposals. Three salient features of human judgment and decision-making illuminated by the existing psychological research literature are used to illustrate this idea: Research findings related to (a) risk perception and acceptance, (b) the standards people use to make decisions, and (c) some nonrational influences on group decision-making suggest how psychological characteristics may affect some outcomes of convened IRB meetings. Recognizing such influences may enable the improvement of IRB decision-making.
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