Test Subject in Amsterdam
By Steve Gillman
We've covered being
a human guinea pig or test subject before, but I had never
done it myself until recently. So when one of my writers told
me he had done this a couple times in Amsterdam, I had him write
about his experiences. This might also be a start to a new "making
money around the world" section of the website. It would
be interesting to see all the ways people get paid in other countries,
and perhaps even how travelers might make money as they visit
new places. Watch the homepage for any news on this possible
My Experience as a Test Subject
By Our Anonymous Writer in Amsterdam
When I ran into lack of cash in Amsterdam chance brought me
to the Amsterdam University where I met some students who introduced
me to a concept that I hadn't heard of before. They said that
anybody can register themselves to be a test subject and get
some benefits for helping out the research work. There are many
variable tests that take place - e.g. stopping smoking, memory,
language and similar. The methods used to examine the effects
are monitored by high tech machines.
The system works in a very simple manner. First you have to
register yourself at a webpage where you declare your age, sex
and location. Afterwards
you can see all the studies that are taking place at the moment
and the page automatically suggests some research studies that
suit you. Since some of the research calls for people with different
attributes then you might not fit into all of them. The alternative
to finding a research to apply is wander about in the hallways
and info boards in the university. There you might find small
ads that declare the nature of the experiment and reward that
(Flicker photo by Tristan Ferne)
Tests usually take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3-4 hours,
depending on the nature of the research. The ones I personally
took part were fMRI and EEG based. Some people might not feel
comfortable with the EEG brainwave detection sensors and people
who don't enjoy themselves in confined spaces might not like
the fMRI machine (it's a big magnetic tube, making lots of noise).
On the bright side, taking the challenge to sit inside the fMRI
is kindly rewarded with 70 dollars.
How Much Can You Make?
Payment is made either through a bank transaction, cash or
additional study points for students. Since students aren't rolling
in it, then the 70 dollars I received on my bank account through
the University of Amsterdam and that took a while. Somewhere
near to two months if I recall correctly. The EEG experiment
went a lot faster and smoother and the payment, 35 dollars, was
paid to me in cash. More commonly the fees are around 20 dollars
or such, but correspondingly they are also easier and faster.
Qualifications / Requirements
The criteria are generally simple. You need to be at least
18 to take part and you need some sort of health care arrangement.
Now when I was doing this I didn't have the Dutch health care
system set up yet, so I used the alternative. The University
of Amsterdam has their own health care system where you can sign
in if you're taking part in these tests.
You can register yourself over the web and it's a common fill-out-a-formula
type of registering.
I'm going to leave you with two sites where you can register
yourself to become a test subject (proefpersoon).
- (In Dutch) This one is the domain for University of Amsterdam.
It used to lose my information all the time. So every now and
then I had to make a new account. Since I haven't been testing
anymore I can't be certain if that still is the case.
http://www.gpgp.net - This
one is in English ("gpgp" stands for "guinea pigs
get paid") and is primarily for those seeking work as a
test subject in the United States, although there is information
on other countries as well.