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For Participants

Participants in the Behavioral Research Lab partake in many types of studies, such as the study where you’ll be asked to spend real money on real consumer products. One study pairs you up with a partner and asks that you negotiate over a hypothetical business deal.

Another puts you in front of an eye tracker and has you read over product descriptions. There’s no limit to the variety of studies conducted in the Behavioral Research Lab!

Frequently Asked Questions

By participating in Behavioral Research Lab studies you become a valued member of our community. Be sure to read the following Participant FAQs for information on being a Behavioral Research Lab participant.

What Types of Studies Does the Lab Conduct?

The vast majority of studies the Lab conducts are surveys, either on paper or computer, and simple behavioral tasks, such a mock negotiations. You’ll be able to see the details of what a study consists of on our SONA website before you sign up, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into.

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Can I Get Course Credit?

Unfortunately the answer is no. The Behavioral Research Lab is not directly associated with Columbia’s Psychology department, or any other department that requires students to participant in studies for course credit. As such no studies conducted in the Lab can count towards required course credits.

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Going to be Late for a Study?

If you know you’re going to be late for a study please contact the researchers listed on the study’s page on SONA. You can also call the Lab Manager (212-854-5497) to inform them that you’ll be late. Depending on the study, being late might disqualify you from participating.

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Not Able to Make a Study You Signed Up For?

If you’re unable to attend a study you signed up for please contact the researchers listed on the study’s SONA page and let them know. If you give ample warning the researchers will mark you as an “excused no-show,” and you will not be penalized.

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What's the No-Show Policy?

The Lab has a limit of 3 “unexcused no-shows” per semester. You will be marked as an unexcused no-show if you do not attend a study you signed up for and you do not contact the researcher beforehand explaining why you can’t make it. Once you’re marked for 3 unexcused no-shows your account will be automatically deactivated for the remainder of the semester, and as such you will no longer be able to sign up for studies. Once a new semester begins all previous unexcused no-shows will be forgiven and your account will be reactivated.

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What are My Rights as a Participant?

As a participant you have the rights to be treated ethically and respectfully, to be informed of the nature of the experiment, and to withdraw your participation at any time. All Behavioral Research Lab studies are approved by Columbia's Institutional Review Board, and researchers are required to obtain informed consent before every study and provide more information after the studies' conclusions. If at any time you have questions or concerns about your rights or welfare as a research subject, contact the Columbia University Morningside Institutional Review Board (IRB) at 212-851-7040 or 212-851-7044 (fax) or e-mail Your safety and comfort are of paramount importance to us.

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Have a Question?

Just email the Lab Manager.

Behavior Lab Calendar

Check out our Lab Calendar to figure out when the room you want is available.

Did You Know?


participants took studies in the Lab during the 2013-2014 academic year


was spent paying participants during the 2013-2014 academic year

Research from the Behavior Lab

Does Facebook Lower Your Self-Control?
Research from Professor Keith Wilcox and Andrew Stephen (PhD '10) suggests that online social networks enhance users' self-esteem — and lower self-control.