The Rights and Responsibilities of Students Participating as Subjects

A thorough appreciation of the nature of psychology requires first-hand experience in psychological research. Students enrolled in most undergraduate psychology courses are therefore expected to participate in psychology experiments, although there are alternative ways of meeting this requirement for those not wishing to participate (e.g., writing research papers). As a participant, you should be familiar with your rights and responsibilities.


1. Sign Up. You must sign up for experiments ahead of time by way of Experimetrix.

2. Show Up On Time. Cancellations need to be made at least 24 hours prior to the appointment. Failure to show will reduce your credit by one hour regardless of the amount of credits the experiment is worth, even if this results in a "negative credit." The penalty can be avoided if the experimenter is notified at least 30 minutes prior to the appointment time and accepts that the reason is compelling.

3. Perform Conscientiously. The results of the experiments are very important to the researchers and potentially to the field of psychology as a whole.

4. Keep A Record Of Your Credit Hours. Click here for a Record of Experiment Participation sheet, where you will keep a personal record of all your credit hours. Each experiment must be signed by the experimenter directly following each experiment. If an experimenter fails to credit your online account, this assures that you will still receive credit.

5. Check Your Credit. You can see how much credit you have been awarded by clicking on "" from the main page. Your credit balance, your earned credit, and any penalties you have incurred, will be shown at the top of the page. Should you discover a discrepancy between these figures and those on your experiment credit sheet, please contact the Department Research Coordinator, Dr. Phil Kortum (

6. ASSIGN YOUR CREDIT TO SPECIFIC COURSES. To do this, click “” from the main page and then click "Assign Credits to Your Courses." You are encouraged to assign your credits as soon as possible, or as soon as you know that you will complete the course to which you are assigning them.


Occasionally, an individual feels that he or she has been mistreated by the experimenter. This is rare, but it has been known to happen. Before participating in an experiment, you may be asked to consent in writing. You have the right to leave an experiment at any time. Of course, if you do not complete the experiment you will not receive experiment credit, but you will not be penalized as you would if you failed to show or cancel in time. If something happens to you that you feel is unethical, please discuss the problem with the experimenter or, at your discretion, report it to Psychology Research Coordinator (Dr. Phil Kortum, ext. 4813 or or the Department Chair (Dr. Eduardo Salas, ext. 3917 or, and/or to the Director of the Office of Sponsored Research (Sarah White, ext. 6200 or All experiments have been approved by the Psychology Department's Research Coordinator and by Rice University's Institutional Review Board. For the occasional experiment in which there is more than minimal risk, the risk will be fully described by the experimenter. If you do not accept the risk, you are, of course, entitled to leave the experiment without penalty. Participation should be an important educational experience. Following participation in each experiment a description of its purpose will be given. This will occur either immediately or else by email later in the semester. The purpose of the description is to make participation a more meaningful experience, to allow the students to appreciate the "inner workings" of psychology experiments. Participants are strongly encouraged to ask questions and to relate the experiment to the course content through discussion with the experimenters, TAs, or course instructors.