Participant Information


Who can become a participant?

If you are 18 or above, live in Ireland, and can understand spoken and written English without difficulty, you are eligible to participate in our behavioural studies. 

Why should I participate?

Any ground-breaking research about human behaviour and decision making was possible thanks to human participants who volunteered in studies. Research conducted by faculty members affiliated with UCD is best known for their academic rigour and impact. By participating in research studies, you can experience first-hand how behavioural research is done. Some studies also offer participants additional incentives like gift vouchers or small payments!!

You can gain a “UCD Behavioural Research certificate” and boost your CV by taking part in behavioural studies. The certificate will give you a competitive edge in the job market, as employers are increasingly looking for job candidates who understand the core concepts of experimental design and behavioural research.

UCD Global Leadership Program
UCD Smurfit School’s Global Leadership Programme (GLP) offers students the opportunity to engage in a diverse range of co-curricular activities. It’s all
about helping students become an impactful leader with a global mindset. The programme is open to all MSc and MAcc students. The GLP gives you the opportunity to engage in co-curricular activities that best reflect your own developmental needs, leadership growth and career aspirations – taking part in three behavioural research studies is one activity that will get you one step closer to getting your GLP certificate!

Vouchers and Financial Compensation
In some instances researchers might offer vouchers (e.g. UCD café or Amazon) or financial compensation for participating in behavioural research
studies. Please carefully read the study summary when researchers launch a new study via the SONA System.

Most importantly, behavioural research is exciting and fun and will help you to better understand human behaviour.

If you are interested in taking part in behavioural research, please see the “getting started” information below.

What will I be asked to do?

Participants may take part in a diverse range of tasks such as evaluating products, completing questionnaires, playing video games or taking part in negotiation games and group discussions. 

Where will studies take place?

Studies are conducted in our laboratory or online. Lab studies will take place in the Behavioral Research Laboratory located in UCD Blackrock campus (click here for directions to UCD BRL). Online studies can be completed using a computer anywhere with stable Internet connection. 

Getting Started

Step 1: Request a participant account on our SONA system

Please login using your UCD Connect Account details and then select “request account” to be registered for the SONA system. Once registered, you will be notified about “open” research studies to which you can sign up.

Step 2: Sign up for your first study

You are now ready to sign up for your first study on Sona. Sona has an intuitive and user-friendly interface, so you should be able to navigate through the system easily. If you would like to check step-by-step instructions on how to use Sona, you may watch a video tutorial created by the video below.

Step 3: Check confirmation email sent by researchers

Once signed up for a study, you will receive a confirmation email from the lead researcher of the study.

Step 4: Review information about the study

Before you take part, please review the descriptions about the study and familiarise yourself with the directions to the laboratory. Because studies are often run on a tight schedule, we expect participants to arrive at the laboratory at least 10 minutes before start time.

Your Rights

All studies have been approved by the UCD Office of Research Ethics and are compliant with guidelines on the recruitment of research participants.  

Ethical Treatment

You deserve to be treated respectfully, kindly, and justly. We honor the decisions you make as an autonomous individual. We seek to design and conduct research that minimizes potential risks, maximizes potential benefits, and promotes fairness for all participants.

Informed Consent

You will be given information about the purpose of the study, the types of activities the study involves, the potential risks you might face (if any), the payment amount and schedule, the methods used to protect your data, and other details. This information will enable you to make an informed decision on whether or not to participate. You will be asked to provide consent either by signing a printed consent form (for lab studies) or by agreeing to a consent statement on a web browser (for online studies).

Voluntary Participation

Your participation in our studies is completely voluntary. You should be allowed to enter into a study freely and without any pressure from researchers. Moreover, you have the right to withdraw from a study at any point and for any reason.

Data Protection

Please be aware that researchers do not have access to your personal information on Sona. Furthermore, no personal information will be collected during a study, unless such information is integral to the research topic or is necessary for certain administrative procedures (e.g., processing payment). Your personal information and research data will be stored in secured locations accessible only to authorized personnel.

Reasonable Compensation

You are entitled to receive reasonable compensation for your participation in studies. Researchers are expected to pay participants in a timely manner. If a performance-based payment system is used, the criteria for determining how much money one will receive should be objective in nature and will be clearly communicated to participants before a study begins.

Your Responsibilities

Be Punctual

Please arrive on time for lab studies. If you signed up for a study, but can no longer participate, please cancel your sign-up on Sona in advance. If you are running late to a lab session, please email the appropriate researcher with a valid reason in advance of the session’s scheduled start time. Late participants might not be allowed to enter the lab. In addition, participants who have accumulated three or more unexcused no-shows will not be able to view or sign up for studies in the future.

Stay Informed

Staying informed involves having a thorough understanding of lab policies and procedures (many of which are described on this webpage), checking your email regularly for study-specific information, and reading the consent form or consent statement carefully before participating in a study.

Follow Instructions

Unless you wish to withdraw from a study, please follow all written and oral instructions provided by researchers. Please answer questions truthfully and complete tasks to the best of your ability.

Ask Questions

Please do not hesitate to ask researchers any questions before, during, or after your involvement in studies. If you have a general inquiry about the BRL, please send an email to

Uphold Confidentiality

After completing a study, please do not disclose any of its details to people you know. Likewise, please do not ask others to provide details about studies they have already completed.


How much money will I earn?

Compensation can vary and will be clearly communicated to participants in advance of the study. Compensation will be in line with the HREC guidelines on expenses and incentives

How will I be paid?

Researchers may pay participants with cash, gift cards or electronic gift certificates. Researchers should pay participants in a timely manner. If this is not the case for you, please send an email to