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 UCI. Serving as a participant 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 your courses by giving you a behind-the-scenes look at research.

Each quarter, many undergraduate classes offer extra credit points to students who choose to participate in research experiments through the Human Subjects Lab Pool. If your class offers extra credit for research participation through our Human Subjects Lab, the following should be clearly stated in the course syllabus:

  1. Participating in research is a purely voluntary opportunity;
  2. All methods of obtaining extra credit points, including research participation, should be clearly addressed;  
  3. There is a clear hour-to-point conversion factor, so you know exactly how your participation hours/credits will be converted to points in the classroom.



  1. Go to our Sona website at:
  2. Click on the "Request Account" button (on the bottom of the page)
  3. Fill out the Account Information which includes:
  • Your First Name
  • Your Last Name
  • User ID - Note: this *must* be your UCINetID.
  • Student ID# - This is your UCI Student ID#. Make sure that you have entered it in correctly.
  • Telephone# (optional)
  • Course - Make sure to select the course or courses that 1) you are enrolled in for that quarter, and 2) you want to have your credits assigned to.
  • Click the Request Account button. You will receive an email with your login information. Once you receive it, follow directions below on how to sign up for studies.



  1. We recommend you sign up to participate earlier, rather than later, in the quarter. Why? Because, more studies will be available during the early-to-middle part of the quarter rather than the end. If you wait until the end of the quarter, you run the risk of not being able to earn all of the extra credit points needed for your class/classes.
  2. Credits do NOT roll over to the next quarter. They must be used within the same quarter they are earned.
  3. Select your courses CAREFULLY. Make sure you've selected the correct course#, course title, and instructor's name. You can change this by clicking "Modify contact information" and selecting the "Change Courses" button in your account profile.
  4. Make sure to assign your credits by the deadline stated on our Sona homepage. No changes or extensions will be granted. Look under "Important Reminders" to Students for this quarter's deadline.
  5. The credits earned from a single study cannot be split among multiple courses (i.e., if you earn 1 credit for a study, you cannot assign 0.5 credits to one course and 0.5 credits to another course. You must assign the full 1 credit to a single course).
  6. Make sure to calculate how many more studies you'll need to participate in to the correct amount of credits for your course(s).



  1. Go to our Sona website at:
  2. Log in using your User ID and password. (If you want, you can change your password at this time.)
  3. On the Welcome Screen, you will be able to select from:
  • Study Sign-Up: Click on the "View Available Studies' button to see currently active studies.
  • My Schedule & Credits: You can view and cancel your appointments, and can see how many credits you have earned (including which study and when).
  • My Profile: You can modify your password, contact information, and change course selections from this screen. Make sure to click the Update button to save your changes.



Once you've found a study that you qualify for (read the Eligibility Requirements), are interested in participating in (read the Study Description), and have signed up for, make sure to:

  1. Note the day, time, and location of your study appointment.
  2. If you realize you can't make your appointment, make sure to cancel your appointment (via your account profile) prior to the study cancellation deadline.
  • If you cannot cancel it via your account profile, contact the researcher(s) directly.
  • Please do not email the HS Lab staff, as we do not cancel appointments on behalf of participants. 



If you fail to show up for an experiment for any reason, you will incur a "no-show". A "no-show" means you've earned 0 credits, since you did not participate in the study. If you receive TWO (2) no-shows during a quarter, you will be prohibited from enrolling in any new studies and will not be able to earn extra credit via research participation for the remainder of the quarter.

If this occurs, you may earn extra credit by completing the alternative option(s) described in the course syllabus for the class you are enrolled in. The alternative options must be comparable to participating as a research participant in terms of time, effort, educational benefit, and credit earned.

NOTE: If your account is limited due to exceeding the no-show policy, you will be able to participate in studies you signed up for prior to your account being limited. If you cannot make those appointments, do have the courtesy of canceling your appointments via your Sona account profile prior to your scheduled appointment time. 



If you have questions about the study you are participating in - including questions about your credits earned - contact the researchers who are running the study. You can find their contact information by looking at your schedule in your account profile, selecting the study, and looking for the researchers' names.

If you forgot your password and cannot log in to your account, try these steps first:

  • Enter in your User ID on our Sona homepage at:
  • A System Message will appear that says: "System Message: Login failed. Did you forget your password?"
  • Click on the "Did you forget your password?" link
  • Enter in your User ID and click on the "Email Password" button. A new password will be sent to your UCI email account, so you can log in.

If you are still unable to access your account by following the above steps, please send an email, including your UCI email address and UCI Student ID#, to the HS Lab Pool staff at:


UCI is a multicultural community of people from diverse backgrounds. Our activities, programs, classes, workshops, lectures, and everyday interactions are enriched by our acceptance of one another, and we strive to learn from each other in an atmosphere of positive engagement and mutual respect. UCI students are expected to comply with all laws and with University policies and campus regulations.

If you have been reported for academic misconduct or misbehavior, your ability to participate for extra credit via the HS Lab Pool may be prohibited during the quarter immediately proceeding the report and longer, if applicable. As noted above, other opportunities to obtain extra credit are available to you and should be clearly stated within the course syllabus. Make sure to review your other available options.

For further information about Academic Integrity, Student Conduct, and applicable policies and regulations, please refer to the Office of Academic Integrity & Student Conduct's website.


HSL Home


© UC Irvine School of Social Sciences - 3151 Social Sciences Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100 - 949.824.2766