Informed Consent Form for study: Behavioral studies of human vision
Researchers: Dr. Peter J. Kohler
Department of Psychology
York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3J 1P3
Telephone: (416) 736-2100 Ext: 33771
Office: Sherman Health Science Research Centre, room 1012

Purpose of the Research: Dr. Kohler is conducting research to investigate how the brain processes visual information. For example, we ask how the brain can produce the representations necessary for human observers to experience the shape, movement and location of objects in the visual scene. Representations derived by the brain drive a wide range of everyday behaviors. By enhancing our understanding of brain function, our study may help improve treatment of vision disorders arising from illness or injury.

What You Will Be Asked to Do in the Research: Your participation will involve sitting in front of a computer screen and looking at displays consisting of pictures, geometric shapes, patterns or dots. You will respond to the visual stimuli using your own mouse or keyboard, following instructions given on the screen. The experiment is designed to allow you to take breaks and rest periods as needed.

Compensation: You will be compensated for your participation in the behavioral study at a rate of $5 per half hour of your participation, or alternatively for URPP credit (1 credit per half hour). You will not incur costs for participating in this experiment. The study will pay for the research only services

Risks and Discomforts: Watching video displays presents a potential risk of inducing seizures in susceptible individuals. Our video displays present no more risk of seizure than that associated with normal screen viewing activities such as television and computer monitors. Approximately 1 in 5000 individuals is susceptible to this risk (Harding and Jeavons, 1994), although not all participants who are at risk due to photosensitivity will actually have an event triggered by watching a video display. You should inform us now if you or a first degree relative has ever had seizures.

There is a potential risk of loss of confidentiality of your data and personal information. We address this risk by storing your data using a code that cannot be tied to your person, anonymizing the data as necessary prior to public sharing and storing any personal and health information in a locked filing cabinet.

Otherwise, the risk to participants is minimal in behavioral experiments. At most, participants may find the testing too simple or too difficult and become frustrated. Previous experience with these sorts of paradigms suggests that subjects can perform these tests reasonably well with minimal impact on them. During lab experiments, some people feel anxious sitting in a dark room. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, we will stop the experiment and help you exit the experiment room.

Benefits of the Research and Benefits to You: We do not foresee any direct benefits to you from your participation.

Voluntary Participation: Your participation in the study is completely voluntary and you may choose to stop participating at any time. Your decision not to volunteer will not influence the nature of the ongoing relationship you may have with the researchers or study staff and the nature of your relationship with York University either now, or in the future.

Withdrawal from the Study: You can stop participating in the study at any time, for any reason, if you so decide. If you decide to stop participating, you will still be eligible to receive the promised pay for agreeing to be in the project. Your decision to stop participating, or to refuse to answer particular questions, will not affect your relationship with the researchers, York University, or any other group associated with this project. If you withdraw from the study, all associated data collected will be immediately destroyed wherever possible.

Confidentiality: All information obtained during the study will be held in strict confidence to the fullest extent possible by law. In no case will your personal information be shared with any other individuals or groups without your expressed written consent. Your behavioral data will be archived indefinitely on secure computer servers and may, in an anonymized form that cannot be connected to you, be used for teaching purposes, be presented at meetings, published, shared with other scientific researchers or used in future studies. Your name or other identifying information will not be used in any publication or teaching materials without your specific permission. Note that the data obtained in the experiment might be uploaded to an open external repository to promote collaborative scientific efforts. The data will be anonymized, and your identity will not be revealed. The data collected in this research project may be used – in an anonymized form - by members of the research team in subsequent research investigations exploring similar lines of inquiry. Such projects will still undergo ethics review by the HPRC, our institutional REB. Any secondary use of anonymized data by the research team will be treated with the same degree of confidentiality and anonymity as in the original research project.

Questions About the Research? If you have questions about the research in general or about your role in the study, please feel free to contact Dr. Peter Kohler either by telephone at (416) 736-2100 Ext: 33771 or by e-mail (pjkohler@yorku.ca). This research has received ethics review and approval by the Human Participants Review Sub-Committee, York University’s Ethics Review Board and conforms to the standards of the Canadian Tri-Council Research Ethics guidelines. If you have any questions about this process, or about your rights as a participant in the study, please contact the Sr. Manager & Policy Advisor for the Office of Research Ethics, 5th Floor, Kaneff Tower, York University (telephone 416-736-5914 or e-mail ore@yorku.ca).

Legal Rights and Signatures: By checking the box below you consent to participate in the research project entitled Behavioral studies of human vision, conducted by Dr. Peter Kohler, and indicate that you have understood the nature of this project and wish to participate. You also approve that the data obtained in the experiment might be uploaded to an open external repository to promote collaborative scientific efforts. The data will be anonymized and your identity will not be revealed. You are not waiving any of your legal rights by indicating consent.

By checking this box you consent to participate in the experiment, as described above.