Document Type



"The Margaret Gruter Prize Paper."


Regulations and doctrine governing human tissue research are facing immense pressure to ensure respect for the interests of tissue providers and of researchers. Tiered consent presents tissue providers with a menu of research categories to which they may consent, and it is a recognized best practice. Yet, evidence in consumer psychology suggests that abundant choice causes decision-makers to experience information overload, make arbitrary choices, refrain from choosing altogether, and experience regret following decision-making. These patterns result in systematically lower quality decision-making. This Essay fleshes out the potential limitations of expanded choice in tiered consent situations so that use of this best practice, and the laws and doctrine governing it, best approaches the ethical paradigm of informed consent.

Date of Authorship for this Version

November 2007