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Psychology Research Studies

Please note that the subject pool closes on the Wednesday of the last week of classes (before finals week) at 5:00 pm. Your instructors may have an earlier deadline for their classes. You must adhere to their specific guidelines regarding the last date you may apply research credits in their classes, as well as the number of class points each research credit is worth.


The information on this page regarding research credit in the Department of Psychological Sciences pertains only to classes in which participation is required for course completion or if the instructor has decided to make research participation for extra credit an option. In other words, please note that not all classes offered through the Department of Psychological Sciences offer course credit for participation in research studies. To determine if your class is one in which this option is available please check the course syllabus.


The pursuit of psychological knowledge is an important enterprise. Such pursuits are viewed as educational for the researchers conducting the investigations and the participants involved in the research. As a potential student participant, you will gain firsthand experience of what the experimental phase of the research process is like. Experiences will vary depending on which projects you participate. For some courses, you may receive credit either as a part of your grade or extra credit for participating in research as a research participant.

As a research participant, you should know that you have certain rights. All participation should be considered voluntary. You should never feel coerced into participating in any one study. Because participation is voluntary, you have a right to withdraw from a study at any time. However, if you sign up for a study and decide not to participate, you must notify the investigator of the study for which you have signed up prior to the experimental session. As a research participant, you should be fully informed about the research and you should grant consent. Your participation in any one study should be viewed as confidential. The only people who will know that you are a research subject are members of the research team. No information about you, or provided by you during the research, will be disclosed to others without your written permission, except if necessary to protect your rights or if required by law.

Getting Started

Before using Sona Systems, you must create an account (PDF). If you would rather participate in an alternative assignment, please follow the instructions in the "Alternative Assignments" dropdown below.

As a research participant, you have certain requirements and expectations:

  • Participate in projects using Sona Systems by following the instructions on the study postings.
  • Participate with informed consent and assurance of confidentiality unless otherwise stated.
  • Attend any projects in which you have agreed to participate. Arrangements must be made prior to the experimental session if you cannot keep your appointment.
  • Do not query course instructors about details of individual research projects.
  • For some projects for which the researchers were granted prior Institutional Review Board approval, you will be contacted by the experimenter directly to participate.
  • Fill out the receipt form provided by experimenter once you have completed a study.
  • Do not divulge the specific details of any experiment in which you have participated.
  • Keep any confirmation emails you were sent until after you have participated. It may contain valuable contact information.
  • You will not always correspond with the experimenter directly. Some studies may be anonymous, such as a web-based survey.

Please Note: In the event of a discrepancy, such as failure to get credit, the experimenter canceled the session, and so on, please contact the administrators of the subject pool at psyc_spa@umsl.edu.

In compliance with APA ethical principles, students may complete an alternative assignment instead of participating in a research study. The Human Subjects Pool works with course instructors to facilitate this process. More information is available in Sona Systems under the study entitled “Research Alternatives”. Research alternatives must be completed and turned in by the closing date of the subject pool or earlier if your instructors have earlier deadlines in their classes.

Researchers who wish to use the Human Subject Pool (HSP) must first complete annual training held each fall, as well as submit all required materials. Please see the HSP policy manual (PDF) for more specific instructions. During the training, you will be instructed on HSP policies and procedures, and how to use Sona Systems. Please contact the Subject Pool Administrator for assistance at psyc_spa@umsl.edu.

Instructors who wish to allow students to earn credit for participation should contact the Subject Pool Administrator at psyc_spa@umsl.edu to get their courses set up in the system.