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SONA - Subject Pool / For Participants/Students

For Participants/Students


*Please read this information carefully. If you have questions, please see the FAQ’s page.


Important Dates/Deadlines


First day of classes - January 8thFirst day to participate in experiments.
January 8thPre-screening survey opens- be sure to register and login to SONA within the first two weeks of the semester to get credit for completing the prescreen survey!
January 22ndPrescreening survey closes at 8:00am
April 19thLast day to submit Alternative Assignments to your TA for credit.
April 19thLast day to participate in experiments.
April 24thDeadline for settling all research credit issues & discrepancies.


Registering with SONA

In order for your research credits to be applied to your course grade, you MUST be registered in the SONA online system. This includes credits for the “screening” survey, face-to-face and online studies, and alternative assignments.WE CANNOT RECORD ANY RESEARCH PARTICIPATION CREDITS IF YOU HAVE NOT REGISTERED. Therefore, it is important that you register as soon as possible.  

To register, you must have a reliable and working email address as well as internet access. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you use your university account (i.e., the address that ends with Follow the steps below for registration:

  1. Navigate to
  2. Click on “Request an account here”, and fill out the form provided
  3. Your User ID is the part of your UK email address before the @ symbol.
  4. Use the digits of your student ID number, but remove the leading “9”.


Once you’ve registered, a password and logon ID will be sent to your email account within several minutes from the Webmaster (i.e., the Subject Pool Administrator). If you do not receive this email, an error may have occurred. Contact the Subject Pool Administrator immediately to correct the problem.

* Be sure to check your Spam/Junk email folders, and configure your email filters to accept emails from

Please watch this tutorial video if you need help registering with SONA:


Logging In & Signing Up

Once you receive your logon information, you will be able to explore the SONA system.

Please be sure to register and login within the first two weeks of classes. The “pre-screening survey” is only available to you during the first two weeks of the semester. Once you login, you will see a pop-up window inviting you to earn your first credit by taking the pre-screening survey. This survey is equal to one (1) credit, and does not count as an online study.

  • Once you login, click on “VIEW AVAILABLE STUDIES”
  • Then click on the name of the study or the “Timeslots Available” box for the study you would like to learn more about.
  • PLEASE pay attention to eligibility - not everyone will be eligible for every study.
  • If you are interested in participating in a particular study, click on the “View Time Slots for This Study”.
  • Click on the sign-up box for the time that you want.
  • You will receive an email confirming your appointment including the date, time, and location of the study.

Sona Credits

If you are enrolled in PSY 100, you are asked to complete six (6) hours of research exposure.

PSY 215 and 216 students must complete four (4) hours.

If you are enrolled in two of these courses at the same time, you must meet the requirements for both courses. For example, if you are enrolled in PSY 215 and PSY 216 in the same semester, you have 8 required hours of research exposure for that semester.


Online Studies

Due to the restrictions caused by COVID-19, you CAN earn all of your credits from online studies. The screening survey does not count as an online credit. If there are not enough online studies to fulfill your requirements, please complete the alternative assignments.  


Credit Allocation

Credit is allocated in ½ hour increments. Sessions lasting up to 25 minutes earn you ½ hour of research credits. Sessions lasting between 26-50 minutes earn you 1 credit. The general rule is that you are allowed 10 minutes of time to travel to your next class or appointment Thus, 1.5 hours of research credit translates into 1 hour and 20 minutes of actual experimental time. The exception to this rule is that ½ hour experiments should not exceed 25 minutes.


Pre-Screening Survey

You can earn 1 credit hour for participation in a “screening” survey that involves filling out psychological questionnaires online. This study counts as an in-person study, so it does not count against your “online” study maximum. You should consider participating in this survey if you intend to participate in face-to-face or online studies. The goal of this survey is to identify students with certain attributes (i.e., gender, or certain personality characteristics) that might be willing to participate in posted studies. You can fill out the survey even if you do not wish to participate in follow-up studies.

Please do not wait to be contacted about participating in a study. Take the initiative explore the experiments posted, and sign up for studies that you are interested in.


Signing up for Studies

Experiments are posted on the SONA system by many different researchers and include a variety of days and times for participation. Your instructor, TA, and the Subject Pool Administrator have no control over what studies are posted, the dates/times they are available, and who is eligible for any study.

On the SONA website, there will be a list of experiments to sign-up for accompanied by a brief description and any requirements to participate (some experiments, for example, involve only male or female participants). Please read the descriptions carefully. The descriptions will also indicate the amount of time the experiment will take, which will translate to the number of credit hours earned, ranging from ½ hour to 6 hours. See above “Credit Allocation” for details.

Once you have registered for an experiment, you will receive a confirmation email that notifies you of the time, location, and contact information for the researcher conducting the experiment. In addition, you will receive a reminder email 24 hours prior to your scheduled study participation. Please note that if you sign-up for an online experiment, the confirmation email will simply tell you that you are signed-up. DO NOT delete this email or any other you receive that is research related.

Please see this tutorial video if you have questions about how to sign up for a study:


Attendance & Cancellation


Please make every effort to attend each study you sign up for. It is important to show up early, and bring any requested materials with you. Many experiments are conducted in groups, and it is critical that all members of a group are available to begin the session at the same time. Being even one minute late may disqualify you from participating. Please be sure to note the location of the study prior to showing up. You can find this information by logging into SONA and looking at the location information for the study. Please note that if you sign up for an online experiment, you simply need to go to the online link and complete the experiment.



Studies can be canceled in the SONA system up to 24-hours before the study is scheduled to begin. If you need to cancel with less than 24-hours notice, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to contact the researcher to let them know you will not be attending the study. You can find the researcher’s contact information by logging into SONA and looking at the contact information on the study.



You are not penalized for canceling prior to the 24-hour period, and it will be noted as an “excused absence” in the SONA system. However, you will NOT receive credit for the study and you would still need to complete the research credit requirements. If you arrive at a study and the researcher is not present within a reasonable amount of time after your appointment time (10-15 minutes), please send an email to the SONA Administrator and let them know of the situation. Depending on the circumstances, it is possible that you would still receive credit for showing up. Being at the wrong location is not an excuse, and/or being present at the wrong time, is not an excuse.


Alternative assignments

Sometimes it is not possible or favorable to complete research studies in-person or online. These situations can occur when:

  • There are not enough posted research studies available for all students
  • Students’ schedules do not align with in-person studies
  • Students do not wish to participate in studies

In the event that you fall into one of the above situations, there are alternative assignments that you can complete to meet your research requirements.

For specific instructions and requirements for the alternative assignments, please click here.


Right to leave study

Any research study posted to the SONA system has been reviewed by UK’s Institutional Review Board. You will not be asked to do anything that is obviously harmful or dangerous; rather, most studies will ask you to complete a simple task or answer questions and give opinions. In addition, researchers will explain the experimental procedures and ask for your consent prior to beginning your participation. If you find the procedure objectionable, you may choose not to participate with no penalty. You are also free to stop participating at any time during the study if you become uncomfortable.