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This paper provides a simultaneously reflexive and analytical framework to think about obstacles to truly informed consent in social science and biomedical research. To do so, it argues that informed consent often goes awry due to procedural misconceptions built into the research context. The concept of procedural misconception is introduced to describe how individuals respond to what is familiar in research settings and overlook what is different. In the context of biomedical research, procedural misconceptions can be seen to function as root causes of therapeutic misconceptions.