Carnegie Mellon University

Participate in Research

CBDR is always looking for new research study participants.


Participants are primarily needed for in-person studies in labs on campus, but may sometimes be able to participate online on a home computer. Please read the participation policies below before entering your information to request a CBDR account for research participation.

Lab Expectations of Participants

  • Participants must present a valid state-issued or student photo ID in order to participate in each in-person study. The name on the valid ID must exactly match the spelling of the name used to sign up for an account. Any participant who presents an ID with a name that does not exactly match the name on their account will not be able to participate in the study and will not be compensated.
  • Participants must show up on time to participate in studies; participants who show up after the listed study starting time may not be able to participate and will not be compensated.
  • Participants are expected to attend all study sessions for which they sign up, or to cancel sign-ups on the website at least 24 hours in advance. Missing a study without online cancellation will result in an unexcused no-show. Participants who accumulate three unexcused no-shows will be banned from participating in studies for at least three months.
  • Participants and researchers are required to maintain an environment of respect. Participants may not be under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs while participating in studies. Use of vulgar or discriminatory language, threatening behavior, inappropriate communication, system abuse, etc. will result in permanent restriction from the system and from participation in studies.  

For in-person studies, participants will be compensated immediately with cash or gift cards. Payment usually averages around $10 per hour for in-person studies. For online studies, participants will typically be compensated with online gift cards within one to two weeks after the study closes. Payment usually averages around $8 per hour for online studies, or participants may be entered into a lottery for a chance to win a larger prize. Payment information for each study can always be found in the study description.

CMU students participating in the Research Participation Program may also earn course credit for participating in specifically labeled studies. These CREDIT studies may not be completed for cash payment unless explicitly stated. Studies labeled "CREDIT" are therefore intended for CMU students only.

Studies vary widely across the broad spectrum of behavioral and decision research. Examples of topics studied are personal attitudes and beliefs, human judgment and decision-making, preferences, interpersonal perceptions, group performance, interaction with computers and machines, and perceptions of public policy.

Each individual study posting will always contain the anticipated length. Online studies are typically shorter, ranging from 5 minutes to an hour (or longer). In-person lab studies are typically longer, ranging from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. Some studies require multiple sessions or may fall outside of these ranges.

Request a CBDR Account

Once you have read the participation policies you may sign up to create an account. Account creation may take up to 72 weekday hours. Do not resubmit information — this will return an error message.

Once you receive your account information, you will be able to view and sign up for studies through our Sona Systems website.