Monetary Incentives Improve Recall of Research Consent Information: It Pays to Remember

Document Type


Publication Date



Research participants often fail to recall substantial amounts of informed consent information after delays of only a few days. Numerous interventions have proven effective at improving consent recall; however, virtually all have focused on compensating for potential cognitive deficits and have ignored motivational factors. In this pilot study, the authors randomly assigned 31 drug court clients participating in a clinical research trial to a control group that received a standard informed consent procedure or to a group that received the same procedure plus incentives for correctly recalling consent information. The incentive group was told they would receive $5 for each of the 15 consent items they could answer correctly 1 week later. At the follow-up, the incentive group recalled a significantly greater percentage of consent information overall than the control group (65% vs. 42%, p < .01). Findings from this study have important implications for the ethical conduct of human subject research. The incentivized consent procedure may be a useful for improving consent recall in research studies, particularly those involving potentially serious side effects. The results also provide an important "proof of concept" regarding the utility of motivational procedures for improving recall of consent information. © 2009 American Psychological Association.

Publication Title

Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology





First Page


Last Page



This article was published in Experimenal and Clinical Psychopharmacology, Volume 17, Issue 2, Pages 99-104.

The published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0015421 .

Copyright © 2009.

This document is currently not available here.