Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Research Experiments

Enrollment in PSY 301 establishes you as part of the “subject pool” for the Psychology department. The subject pool enables researchers to recruit participants for approved experiments with the potential to produce research that benefits society. Sona is the online registration system used by researchers to post experiment opportunities and for subject pool participants to register for experiments. You will use Sona to complete the five credit hour research experiment requirement for your class.  A Sona account is automatically generated for students enrolled in PSY 301—you should receive an email with your login and password information on the first day of the semester. When you enter the system, you will be able to review experiment opportunities and register for experiments based on your interests and availability. Use the information on the Sona Information page to help navigate the system.

Prescreening Information
In order to qualify for some experiments and receive .5 credit hours toward your research requirement, you have the option to complete a number of prescreening questionnaires. The information from these questionnaires will assist researchers in finding participants who meet specific eligibility requirements for their experiments. If you qualify for a study based on your prescreen responses, you will be contacted by a researcher and invited to participate in their study for credit hours. Prescreening is done through Sona.

Please see the Important Dates to Remember page for prescreening dates and deadlines. If you choose to participate in the prescreening, you must do so between the announced dates. Please try to complete prescreening questionnaires earlier during this timeframe to avoid overloading the server. *Plan to finish the questionnaires in one sitting, as Sona will not save your work.

Experiment Sessions
To participate in experiment sessions, please take note of the following information:

  • If you are under the age of 18 you must first submit a parental permission form (available in display bins outside SEA 4.208 or online). Once signed by your parent/guardian, return it to research coordinator at psyresearch@austin.utexas.edu, in person at SEA 4.212, or by fax at 512-471-6175.
  • You will sign up for experiments online through Sona. Login with your UT EID and the password emailed to you the first week of class. Select “View Available Studies” to see all of the experiment sessions available.
  • There are several types of experiments available on Sona, including multiple-session studies and online studies—please review the study descriptions to determine if you wish to participate. Please note that online studies are restricted to 1.5 credit hours (the .5 prescreening credit does not count toward this total) and all remaining credit hours must be completed in person, in the lab.
  • Show up on time on the date of your experiment and allot sufficient time to complete the session. If you show up late or leave early, your data may not be usable and you will not receive full credit.
  • If you do not show up for a registered experiment session without first notifying a researcher or the research coordinator, you will be assigned an unexcused absence. *If you accumulate three unexcused absences, you will no longer be permitted to participate in research experiments and will be required to complete the research paper instead of research hours.
  • Absolutely NO cell phones, laptops, or other external distractions will be permitted in the labs.
  • You will be able to monitor credit status through your Sona account. Your Sona record will be the only verification of experiment participation. It is advisable to login to Sona regularly and take a screen shot of the “Credits Overview” page for your records.
  • Students who fail to complete the research requirement by the last day of the semester will receive an incomplete for the course. If you receive an incomplete, you will have until the final class day of the following semester to finish the research requirement before the incomplete permanently converts to an F. Please note that if you earn a D (+/-) or an F in PSY 301, your grade will be released whether you complete the research requirement or not.

If you have questions, please contact the research coordinator at psyresearch@austin.utexas.edu. Please do not contact your instructor—the PSY 301 research requirement is administered by the research coordinator.



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  • Department of Psychology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    SEA 4.208
    108 E. Dean Keeton Stop A8000
    Austin, TX 78712-1043
    512-471-1157