Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  Where are ESSL experiments conducted?

The ESSL is located in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway (SBSG) room 1240.  SBSG is building 214 on the UCI campus map.  Most experiments are conducted at the main ESSL facility in SBSG 1240.  However, experiments may also be conducted at other locations. The location for a particular experiment is displayed after you login and mentioned in the email announcements and reminders for that experiment.

Q.  What kind of experiments are conducted at the ESSL?

Experimental studies conducted at the Experimental Social Science Laboratory study economic decisions.  These decisions will usually be made on a computer in the lab located in Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway SBSG 1240.  You do not need to have any experience to participate.  We cannot go into the details of any specific experiment before you decide whether or not to participate.

Q.  What happens if I sign up and show up late, cannot attend, or miss an experiment entirely?

It is vital that participants arrive early and be prepared to stay through the end of the experiment. Most experiments require a certain number of participants and cannot be completed without enough participants.  If you know you will be late or absent, please email the lab ASAP at If you do not show up, you may be removed from the subject pool and not allowed to participate in future experiments.

Q.  If an experiment is full, can I sign up for a waiting list?

There are no waiting lists available for experiments that are already full.  If there is another time available that you are invited to, it will be displayed on your home screen.

Q.  How do I remove myself from the mailing list / deactivate my account?

To remove yourself from the system, log into your account at and click on the "My Profile" link near in the blue menu bar near the upper right.  Then click the "Request Account Deletion" link.

Q.  How are participants protected?

Before an experimental study is conducted, it must be approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure that participants' rights will be respected. Please visit UCI's Human Research Protections web site for more information.

Privacy.  The only personal information stored in the Subject Pool database is the information voluntarily provided by you when registering on the next page and a record of the experiments for which you registered and in which you participated. This information is accessed only by ESSL staff and is used only to schedule experiments for research purposes, to invite interested parties to participate, and to keep a record of past experiment participation.

Confidentiality.  Researchers will be given information about your decisions only. They will not be given any personal identifying information. Data on decisions will be stored indefinitely for data analysis. Your name will be kept separately from data on decisions and will be used by ESSL Staff for scheduling, accounting, and other administrative purposes only. Any information derived from this research project that personally identifies you will not be voluntarily released or disclosed without your separate consent, except as specifically required by law.

Q.  What should I expect as a participant?

Sign-up.  After creating an account at, login to your account to view available studies.  Your account will only display studies for which you are able to signup.  Some studies have multiple experimental sessions.  For most experimental stuides, a participant can participate in only one of those sessions.  In some studies, however, a person is allowed to participate multiple times.

Show-up Payment.  Every participant who is invited to an experiment confirms his/her presence and shows up on time will at least be compensated with a $7 show-up payment.

Participation Payment.  Additional payments may also be received depending on the particular session, the choices made by you and other participants in the session, and factors determined randomly by the computer or by chance.  Receipt of these additional payments is conditional upon completion of the experiment session.  If you withdraw during the study or are withdrawn by the research team, then you will still receive the show-up payment.  Your payment is made privately, and you will be asked to show your student ID and sign a payment receipt used for accounting purposes.  The only form of compensation is the monetary payment.  Participation in an experiment does not yield any course credit.

Experimental Session Length.  The length depends on the type of experiment and on the decisions made by the participants. Some last only 30 minutes, while others may last a couple hours. Some experiments may require subjects to return again on another day. The announcement for a particular experiment usually provides an estimated length. The announced time is usually an over-estimate so you can be sure to be done by the announced ending time.

Cancellation.  Experiments may be cancelled due to various reasons such as the lack of a required number of participants or technical difficulties.  Please note that subjects will not receive a show-up payment for an experiment that is cancelled before it begins.

Q.  What rules and requirements must I follow?

At this time, only students 18 years of age and older who are registered in classes at UCI may participate in experiments at the ESSL.  Participants are expected to abide by the following rules and regulations.

Timeliness.  The experiment starts at the stated time. Therefore, we only take check-ins up until the start time, and anyone showing up after the scheduled start time is not guaranteed the show-up payment or the right to participate in the experiment.  This is why participants are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes early.  An attendance record is kept and repeated absences may result in your not being asked to participate in our experiments anymore.

Identification.  To ensure that only those people who have been invited and RSVPed to the invitation email take part in the experiment, participants are asked to bring their UCI ID card with them. A participant who does not have their UCI ID card may not receive the show-up payment and may not be allowed to participate.

Admission.  Qualifying participants who show up in a timely manner are admitted into the experiment on a first-come-first-serve basis. Sometimes, participants may be given a show-up payment and asked to leave the experiment for various reasons. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding when such circumstances arise.

Participation.  During an experiment, each participant will have to act upon the rules stated by the experimentalists in the instructions.  All participants have the right to leave the experiment at any time for any reason. Participants who leave during the middle of an experiment are not permitted to return and will not receive any portion of their participation payment.

For questions, please contact the ESSL by email at or call us at 949-824-7030.  There is not always a person in the lab, so it is typically better to email.


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