Participating in Paid Studies
Here and in the Unusual Ways Newsletter (there should
be a subscription form in the side bar to the right) we occasionally
report on being a paid research subject at universities, and
other opportunities to make
money as a human guinea pig. So we were happy to get the
following true story from a visitor to the site.
My Experience With Paid Studies
By Andreea Manole
My friend was coming to England and I needed some money to
visit her in Birmingham. I remembered from my undergraduate studies
that psychology departments of local Universities conduct paid
studies and usually allow registering as volunteer of virtually
anybody, even if not a student. One study that was running the
next day was advertised on their website. It was a two part study
that involved measuring a hormone level, oxytocin, whilst performing
several attention-based tasks. This was estimated to take 1 hour
and with at least £ 10 reward at the end.
I quickly completed the first part online to check my eligibility
for the experiment. It consisted of several questions regarding
the medical conditions and drugs which could interfere with the
levels of the hormone in the saliva. The questionnaire wasn't
particularly helpful as anyone could in theory lie about not
having such problems.
The next part had to be done in the lab and I was required
to bring a female friend with whom I should not have any physical
contact that day. I came across a woman with whom I have transiently
spoken before and asked if she would like to participate in this
1-hour study concerning oxytocin for which she could earn some
money. I quickly gave her directions on how to get there and
some general details about our friendship.
The next day I arrived first at the lab and was given a cup
with the university name on it and was told it now belonged to
me. I was then asked to provide a saliva sample for them to test
and went on to complete several computer based tasks involving
not only my attention but also my current mood. Also, they looked
at the degree of risk I was willing to take for my friend to
help her obtain some additional money. There were scenarios that
tested my trust in other people and my altruism level. During
one of these evaluations, I was given the opportunity to exchange
the cup for money, but only if my lower threshold was in agreement
with that imposed by the researcher.
Meanwhile, my partner arrived and independently did similar
tests. The next tasks involved us working together to solve some
riddles with the idea that in approximately 30 minutes a bond
will form between us. After, our saliva samples were taken again
and we received £ 13 at the end of the study. We also got
to keep the cups. Interestingly, maybe due to the nature of the
experiment, my partner had decided to give me £ 10.
In general any College or University with a decent research
psychology department will offer cash for minutes or hours spent
doing these risk-free studies. There are no right or wrong answers,
the hours are flexible, and the pay is good - usually £
10-15 per hour. If you schedule studies during your idle time,
you can even earn in the thousands per year from that alone.
Note: As of mid-2014 £ 10-15 per hour equals
approximately $17 to $25 per hour.
For more on paid studies and related ways to make money see
the following pages:
Test Subject in Amsterdam
- The author's experience taking part in a research study.
Donate Blood for Money
- How much you can make and where.