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Behavioural psychology showed that so-called ‘nudging’ or, more generally, ‘non-persuasive’ influences can have a decisive impact on people’s behaviour. In this presentation, I examine the question of when, if at all, such influences vitiate consent to a medical procedure. After explaining what I call ‘non-persuasive influences’ in greater detail, I reject the majority view, according to which such influences vitiate consent if and only if they fail to satisfy the conditions of easy resistibility, transparency, or rationality. Instead, I argue that non-persuasive influences vitiate consent if and only if they ‘undermine’ a person’s decision-making in one three ways, which I call distraction, exclusion, and pressure; and they preserve valid consent when they ‘enhance’ a person’s decision-making in one of three ways, which I call de-biasing, re-biasing, and - in specific situations - exploiting some bias. I will offer two types of support for my view: firstly, my view – unlike those accounts focusing on resistibility, transparency, and rationality – delivers the correct result in a range of cases and, secondly, my view correctly aligns with more general considerations concerning an appropriate protection of the consenter’s autonomy. 

This WEH/Ethox seminar will be held by video conference through Bluejeans. Please email for the link to the meeting.

Forthcoming events

Correlates and consequences of atrial fibrillation in 25,000 CKB participants

Thursday, 28 September 2023, 12pm to 1pm @ BDI/OxPop Building LG seminar room 0

The epidemiology of periportal fibrosis in the context of intestinal schistosomiasis

Monday, 09 October 2023, 1pm to 2pm @ BDI/OxPop Building seminar rooms

Defeating Meningitis by 2023 Global Roadmap

Monday, 16 October 2023, 1pm to 2pm @ BDI/OxPop Building seminar room 1

OxPop Festival of Global Health - The Cancer Conflict

Thursday, 19 October 2023, 5pm to 8pm @ Richard Doll Lecture Theatre, Richard Doll Building, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford, OX3 7LF

Cancer Treatments: trust and information