Experiments for Credit: Register

You MUST be 18 years old to use the SONA system. By accessing the SONA system you are acknowledging that you are at least 18 years old.

Already Have a SONA Account?

  1. Yes, I'm retaking PSYC 104: Please notify your instructor that you have an old account, we will need to link it to your current course in order for your instructor to see your progress. If you earned credits previously, they should still be in the system. Some instructors will allow you to reuse these credits. Logon to your account and check that you have earned the appropriate amount of credits for this semester. If you had old web-based study credits, these will count against your limit for this semester, as well.
  2. Yes, I'm earning extra credit for an advanced course: If you are earning credits for an advanced course, you may already have a SONA account from when you took PSYC 104. Please continue using this account, rather than creating a new one (there is a link on the sign-in page if you forgot your password). It is important that you continue using this account, since participation in previous studies effects which studies you are currently qualified for. You may have trouble signing up for web-based studies. However, there is nothing your instructor, nor the system administrator can or will do for you—since there is an absolute limit to the number of web-based studies each student can participate in.

Rules for Participants

Research Participant Pool Guidelines


All students enrolled in Introductory Psychology (PSYC 104), or other specified courses, are required to have some experience with psychological research. One of the best ways to gain experience is to be directly involved in on-going research investigations. If you agree to serve as a research participant, this document will describe your responsibilities for satisfying the research participation requirement and describe the procedures that you will need to follow. Your participation serves two important functions. First, most of what you learn in your psychology classes is based on carefully conducted research with human volunteers. That research can seem rather mysterious in the abstract. Participation in research gives you a first-hand glimpse into the research enterprise that uncovers the explanations for human behavior. Second, the progress of psychology as a science would be considerably slowed without the help of research participants. Thus, the research requirement represents, in part, service to the psychological community of which you are a part. Other benefits of participating in research are often mentioned in the consent forms of individual experiments, which you will discover when you participate.

The University of Kansas utilizes the SONA web system to organize our research pool. Access the SONA Website to sign up for your accoutn and to schedule the studies you will participate in.

General Information

Credits Required: Participants for PSYC 104 must earn at least eleven (11) "experimental credits" during the Fall and Spring terms, and six (6) "experimental credits" during the Summer terms. If you miss an experiment you were signed up for, you will receive a "no-show. Your research credit information will be stored on the SONA system and will be downloaded by your instructor at the end of the semester. You can track the credits you've earned and any changes to your required credits on the "My Schedule and Credits" page when you are logged on to SONA.

Obtaining Credits: Credits are earned by participating in research projects. One credit is given for 30 minutes or less of participation. Two credits for 31-60 minutes of participation, and so on.

Limits on Number of Credits Earned via Web-Based Experiments: Some experiments will be based on the web, and can be completed from any computer that has internet access. However, you may earn no more than 1/3 of your credits via web-based experiments. That means that in Fall and Spring you may earn no more than 3 credits online, and in Summer you may earn no more than 2 online. If you earned a credit for participating in the pre-screen, this does not count against this limit. If you have web credits from a previous semester, these WILL count against your limit in the current semester, and you will have to earn your credits in in-person studies.

Failing to Obtain Enough Credits: When you agree to be a research participant, you must complete enough experiments to earn the required number of credits for your course, and to make up for any "no-shows" you have earned. There will be a penalty if a student does not complete the required number of credits by the end of the semester. It will be the Psychology Department's policy for the student to receive an I. If the student has received an I it will roll to a F if they do not complete the required research credits by stop day of the next semester.

Last Day to Obtain Credits: The last day to obtain research participation credits is on STOP DAY, or the day after classes end, for the semester (insert date). Do not put off obtaining your credits! There may be fewer research opportunities later in the semester, and in fact, if you wait too long you may not be able to earn any credit at all. It is your responsibility to sign up for and complete experiments while they are offered.

Right to Decline Research Participation Option

If you do not wish to fulfill your requirement through participation in experiments, the course instructor will provide you with alternative projects that you can complete as an alternative to research participation. Your instructor will provide details of this term project.

Right to Refuse Participation in an Experiment: Participation in ANY experimental investigation is voluntary. When you arrive for the experiment, the researcher will provide you with a brief description of the project. At that time, or at any time during the experiment, you have the option of withdrawing without penalty. You should be aware that it is occasionally necessary to withhold some information about the purpose of the experiment until your participation is complete so that an accurate appraisal can be obtained.

Your Research Participation Responsibilities

You Are Responsible For:

  • Registering with the Psychology Research Participant Pool (KU SONA Website)
  • Scheduling appointments for research participation
  • Writing down important information about the experiments for which you sign up (e.g., name/time/location of your experiment, name and contact information of the experimenter)
  • Showing up on time, at the correct location for your scheduled research appointments(you must cancel at least 60 minutes before an appointment if you cannot attend)
  • Keeping your receipt of participation (e.g., copy of consent form) in case there is an error in the system

Registration: All students will need to register on the web-based system to participate in the subject pool. When you first use the system you will need to enroll as a new user. Do this by clicking on the "New Participant - Request an account here" link at the web site given above. You will then be asked to enter the following information:

Name: Please enter your first and last name as it appears on your student ID.

User-ID: This will be your login name for this system. This has to be unique. Ideally you will want to use your user-ID from your KU email address. For example, PERSON@ku.edu would use "PERSON" as their user id. If someone else has used the User-ID you entered, the system will prompt you to enter a different user-ID.

Email Address: Ideally you should enter a KU email address. If you are using a non-KU email address, please be sure your internet service provider allows emails from this system.

Student ID #: Please enter your 7-digit KU ID number.

Phone #: Please enter a phone number where you can be reached.

Course: You will need to select the appropriate course from the drop-down list. If you do not select the appropriate course, your instructor will NOT be able to download your credit report, and you will NOT fulfill your research requirement! If your course is not listed, please let your instructor know.

Be careful when entering the information. The system will send your assigned password to the email address you entered. You can change your password after you first logon. If you are unable to register, contact the Psychology Department Office at 426 Fraser to have an administrator register your account.

Pre-Screening Survey: During Fall and Spring, a pre-screening survey will be made available on the system the second Monday of the term. During the Summer, the survey will be available on the first day of class. This survey is MANDATORY for all participants using the system, and you will not be able to access the system until you have completed it. Your responses to this survey are completely confidential, and you will have the option of declining to answer any particular question. This online survey is made up of various "screening" questionnaires that researchers will use to recruit eligible participants with selected characteristics, which vary from study to study. Some experiments never show up on the sign-up system. The only way to participate in these experiments is to be selected from the pre-screening survey. If you qualify for a particular experiment, the individual researcher may call or email you to schedule research appointments for which you will receive credit. During the Fall and Spring terms, if you complete the prescreen prior to midnight on the third Monday of the term you will receive a credit. You will NOT receive credits for completing the pre-screen after this date, or at any time during the summer.

Signing Up for Experiments

  1. Use the Web System: All students will need to utilize the web-based scheduling system. Simply click on "Study Sign-Up" at the system web site after you logon. You will be given some simple instructions on how to schedule yourself for experiments. You should NOT sign up for an experiment that you have already completed or for which you are not qualified (e.g., male signing up for an experiment requiring all females); you will NOT receive any credit for these.
  2. Contacted by an Experimenter: Individual researchers may contact you via email or phone, if you have met their qualifications, to see if you are interested in participating in their study for credit. In some cases, the researcher may give you a password that will allow you to sign up for that particular study using the web-based system. Once you complete that study, credits will be recorded on the web-based system. In other cases, an experimenter may manage your appointment without using the web system—it is very important that you record the time, location, and researcher contact information for these studies, and that you get a receipt for your participation afterwards!

If a study requires a password, or authorization code, then that experiment is restricted to only those who qualify based on responses to the Pre-Screen. These passwords are distributed by experimenters to participants based on eligibility determined from the Pre-Screening Survey. Students who receive these passwords can then use them to sign up for particular studies.

The credits you earn on the SONA System will be stored in our database for at least one semester. You should also obtain a "receipt" from the experimenter to verify your participation in case of system errors. A "receipt" of participation could take the form of your copy of the consent form with the date, time, & duration of participation. Normally, all credits will be tracked by the web-based system. You will only need your "receipt" if there is an error in the database.

Show up ON TIME, at the APPROPRIATE LOCATION and complete the experimental session. When signing up for a study, make absolutely certain you can attend—and plan ahead of time to allow for travel and finding your appointment on time. If you are more than 5 minutes late, your appointment will be listed as a "No-Show" (see No-Show policy, below). If your experimenter is late, you are required to wait at least 10 minutes before leaving (see Experimenter No-Show policy, below).

It is your responsibility to cancel an experiment that you cannot attend.

To Cancel an Appointment: If you must cancel, then it is necessary for you to do so NO LATER THAN 60 MINUTES before the scheduled beginning of the experiment. There are 3 ways to cancel:

  1. Using the "Cancel" option on the website (Strongly preferred & most reliable method)
  2. Calling the phone number given on the experiment sign-up page to try to reach an experimenter.
  3. Following any specific cancellation instructions given to you by the individual experimenter.

If you are emailing, calling, or leaving a voice mail message be sure to SPELL your last name, give your ID#, and give all experiment information (experiment name, location, time & date, name of researcher). If you do not follow proper cancellation procedures, or if your cancellation message is not clearly received, you may receive a "no show".

No-Shows: If you fail to comply with cancellation instructions, you may receive a no-show. Experimenters can exclude you from participating in their experiments according to your no show count. You may be excluded from desirable or convenient experiments by accumulating no shows. You will receive a no-show if:

  1. You fail to show-up for an experiment, and did not cancel at least 60 minutes before your appointment time.
  2. You show up more than 5 minutes late for an appointment, or fail to wait 10 minutes for a late experimenter.

It is your responsibility to arrive at the CORRECT location for your study. If you miss your appointment because you forgot or could not find the address, or because you went to the wrong location, you will still receive a no show.

Experimenter No-Show: If you arrive on time and your experimenter is not present, you are required to wait at least ten minutes before leaving. You should make sure you are in the correct location. If the experimenter does not arrive you may report this TO THE EXPERIMENTER using the contact information listed on the study sign-up page. Before you do so, you should check to see if the experimenter has already contacted you or given you credit. If not, you must report the no-show within 24 hours or you forfeit the credit. You should leave your name, and the time/location of your study. If reported properly, you will receive one credit for an experimenter no-show. If the experimenter does not respond to your request within 3 days, you may contact the Psychology Department Office at 426 Fraser.

Other Important Information

Inclement Weather: Experiments follow the University of Kansas inclement weather policy. If KU cancels classes, then experiment sessions are also cancelled.

Educational Experience: Research participation should be a valuable educational experience for you. As a research participant, you can usually expect to be given a complete explanation (the "debriefing") at the end of each study (either immediately, or by email). The purpose of the debriefing is to provide you with information to help you understand more completely the purpose of the study and its potential impact.

Human Subjects Committee Approval: Any experiment in which you participate will have already been approved by the University Human Subjects Committee. This ensures that someone other than the experimenter has determined that the procedures for a study follow strict ethical guidelines. Any risks must be revealed to you prior to your consent to participate. Despite these safeguards, there are still wide variations in people's reactions to the different kinds of tasks they are asked to perform in research studies. If you feel that you have been mistreated by the experimenter or asked to perform tasks that make you uncomfortable, remember that you have the right to leave any experiment at any time. If you leave an experiment before completing it, you will still receive credit for the amount of your participation.

Act Responsibly: Be conscientious in performing your tasks in each study. The research is very important to the students and faculty conducting it, and your role is very critical to the success of their efforts. Psychology as a science could not exist without the careful and responsible efforts of research participants. Give each study your full effort and attention.

Complaints & Questions about Experiments: If you have any complaints or questions about an experiment, please first contact the researcher directly. Do NOT contact the system administrator or use web-help. If the researcher fails to address your complaint, THEN you can contact the Psychology Department Office in 426 Fraser (864-4131).

If you have a complaint about an experimenter's behavior, you may file a "Complaint Form" in the Psychology Department Main Office (426 Fraser). You will need the following information: study name, appointment time/location, and the nature of your complaint. Do not send complaints via email.

If you have any questions or concerns about any of these policies you may contact the KU Psychology Department Human Subjects Pool, via email at psychpool@ku.edu.

You may also contact the KU Human Subjects Committee Office at 864-7429 for any additional information regarding human participation in research.