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We investigated the social implications of signing an informed consent form (ICF) on participant behavior. ICF research fails to consider that the decision to participate in research is a process that occurs in a social and cultural context. Understanding the meaning of giving consent in this social context is critical. In separate experiments, we found significantly greater agreement to return to complete a study and persistence at a task in participants who signed the ICF versus those who did not. Signing the ICF may be putting participants at risk of induced compliance with study protocols, rather than empowering them to withhold consent or withdraw. Future research should investigate the psychosocial factors affecting participants' decision making in the informed consent process.