UW Research

capacity to consent / decision making capacity

The Human Subjects Division (HSD) defines this as the ability of an individual to understand the choices presented, to appreciate the implications of choosing one alternative or another, and to make and communicate a decision. Competence is a legal term that should not be confused with decision-making capacity. For example, someone who has been judged legally incompetent to handle their finances may still be able to make a meaningful choice about participating in research.