SONA Instructions for Undergraduate Participants

The purpose of psychological research is the acquisition of knowledge. A great deal of what we know about human behavior is based on studies conducted at universities like UCLA. Serving as a subject in an experiment provides students with direct exposure to psychological research. The descriptions of psychological research that appear in textbooks and scientific journals necessarily omit a great deal of information about what research is really like. Serving as a research participant thus complements what you learn in class by giving you a behind-the-scenes look at research.

Psychology 10 Students

Students enrolled in Psychology 10 are required to serve as psychological research subjects for a total of six hours or write three abstracts on articles from psychology journals, or do a combination of both.

Students who do not complete this research requirement by Thursday of Week 10 will receive a grade of Incomplete (“I”) in Psych 10. In order to remove the “I”, the research requirement will have to be fulfilled the following quarter or else the “I” will lapse into an “F” (or “NP”). Students who received an “I” in the prior quarter they took Psych 10 can apply any accumulated credit towards the six hours of experiment credit needed to receive a grade for Psych 10. Students who DROP Psych 10 after having served as a research participant or written an abstract CANNOT apply any accumulated credit towards the next time they take the course.

Participating in Experiments

Experiments are posted and scheduled using a SONA online management system.

Students who participate in Pretesting, which involves filling out a survey online during the first week of class, are eligible to receive one half-hour (0.5) credit toward the six hour requirement. This credit will be applied only for those students who register with the online system by the end of Week 1. Experimenters for whose experiments you qualify based on your survey answers may wish to contact you directly. If you receive a call from an experimenter, and agree to participate in their experiment, make sure that either 1) you are given an authorization number to sign up for the experiment yourself, or 2) the experimenter signs you up for the experiment before it is run. Note that you must be registered with the Psychology Department Subject Pool before you can serve as a subject.

Experiment Participation Alternatives

You can also fulfill the research requirement for Psych 10 by summarizing reports of psychological research. Completion of each abstract will give you two hours of research credit. Thus, three abstracts will fulfill the six hour research requirement. You may combine written abstracts with experiment participation. For example, you may choose to write one abstract (for two hours credit) and take part in four hours worth of experiments. At the end of the quarter, turn in your abstracts to your instructor in order to receive credit. Please refer to your Psych 10 instructor or CCLE course site for more details about writing abstracts.

Procedure for Writing Abstracts:

  1. Go to the College Library or the Biomedical Library to find Psychology Research (ask a Research Librarian for assistance). You may also find research articles online in APA Psychology journals:
  2. Find and read an article that interests you.
  3. Write a one-page double-spaced summary of the article. In your abstract, be sure to mention the central issue of the article, the research procedures used, and the results of the study you summarize. Be sure to provide a complete reference for the article, including the author, title, name of journal, publication date, and page number at the top of the abstract as in the following example:
    Smith, B.J., & Jones, R.T. (1993). Mental illness and social support. Psychological Science, 207- 219.

All other Psychology Students

Several psychology courses allow students to participate in experiments for extra credit. Your professor will notify you if his or her course offers this option.

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