SONA Requirement for Psych100 Students

Students are required to earn 6 SONA credits as a portion of the grade for Psych 100, Introduction to Psychology.  Each SONA credit is worth 1% of your final grade.  Failing to earn any SONA credits towards this requirement will mean your final grade will be 6 points lower than it otherwise would be (e.g., 89 B+ rather than 95 A).

SONA credits can be earned through participating in research studies or through an alternative assignment as described below.  In order to earn SONA credits and assign them to this course, you must login to your SONA account.  A SONA account has been created for you if you are currently registered for this course through SPIRE.  Instructions for accessing SONA are available here: [link to Student SONA accounts page and a link to full instructions].  If you have problems finding or accessing your SONA account, email psychsona@umass.edu.  Neither the instructor nor the teaching assistants for Psych 100 can help you with your SONA account.  [link to SONA]

Experiment participation

You are encouraged to earn SONA credits by participating in research studies.  The ability of scientists to conduct human subjects research depends on volunteers like you.  Much of the science that we are able to teach in psychology courses is based on participation of undergraduate students in research studies.  To earn SONA credits for research participation:

  1. Complete the mandatory brief survey the first time you login to SONA.
  2. You are encouraged to participate in the study titled “Long Prescreen Spring 2024”, which is only available until February 22nd at 2 pm. Participating in this online study may make you eligible for studies you would otherwise not know about.
  3. Check experiment availability frequently.
  4. If you are interested in participating in a specific study, and you meet the eligibility requirements described in the study description, sign up.
  5. Make a note of the time and specific location of the study. There will be reminders, but it is your responsibility to attend an experimental session that you signed up for.
  6. After your participation, confirm the researcher gave you the correct number of SONA credits (1 credit for every 30 minutes of participation).
  7. This step should already be done for you, but just in case, make sure that your SONA credits are assigned to “100 – Instructor last name”.  There is another Psych 100 but with a different instructor, so be careful about selecting the correct one.
  8. Experiments must be completed by May 10th at 11:59 pm, and credits must be assigned to this course by May 15th at 4:00 pm in order to receive credit. There will be no opportunities for credit after May 10th.

Other ways to earn SONA credits

Some students are ineligible to participate in research (e.g., not yet 18-years old) or choose not to participate in the research studies that are available.  If your ability or willingness to participate in research studies changes during the semester, email psychsona@umass.edu to let us know.  To earn SONA credits through an alternative activity:

  1. Complete the mandatory brief survey the first time you login to SONA. Include the fact that you are unable or unwilling to participate in research studies when asked.
  2. Check for the availability of ALTERNATIVE activities frequently. These will typically include attending an in-person research talk or participating in in-person research demonstrations similar to what you might do in a psychology class.
  3. Make a note of the time and specific location of the alternative activity. There will be reminders, but it is your responsibility to attend the talk or session you signed up for.
  4. After your participation, confirm that you were given the correct number of SONA credits (1 credit for every 30 minutes of participation).
  5. This step should already be done for you, but just in case, make sure that your SONA credits are assigned to “100 – Instructor last name”.  There is another Psych 100 but with a different instructor, so be careful about selecting the correct one.
  6. Experiments must be completed by May 10th at 11:59 pm, and credits must be assigned to this course by May 15th at 4:00 pm in order to receive credit. There will be no opportunities for credit after May 10th.

Regardless of how you earn your SONA credits, please make note of the following:

SONA credits will not show up on Moodle.

You can confirm that you have earned credits and assigned them to Psych 100 in SONA.  The instructor will be sent the number of SONA credits that you earned at the end of the semester and before submitting your final grade for the course.

Attend the sessions you sign up for.

Some research costs a great deal of time and money once a session is scheduled regardless of whether the participant shows up or not. 

  1. If you, an experimenter, or a session organizer needs to cancel a session for any reason and at least 24 hours notice is given, no SONA credit will be assigned and no penalty will be assigned.
  2. For online studies that can be completed at any time, if you sign up but fail to participate by the deadline, no SONA credit will be assigned and no penalty will be assigned (marked as excused).
  3. For in-person sessions and sessions that require you to be online at a specified time, you must either cancel more than 24 hours before the scheduled time or arrive at the designated place within 5 minutes of the scheduled time. Otherwise, the experimenter or session organizer will assign an unexcused “no-show” regardless of the reason.
  4. If you have a valid reason for missing the session and failing to provide 24-hour notice, email psychsona@umass.edu within 48 hours or as soon as possible with the reason and any supporting evidence. Your reason and history of other no-shows will be reviewed. When there is a valid reason, unexcused “no-shows” will be changed to excused absences.
  5. If you accumulate three unexcused “no-shows” this semester you will temporarily be unable to sign up for any more experiments or alternatives. In order to reinstate your SONA account, email psychsona@umass.edu. You may be required to complete an additional written assignment before you can access SONA again and complete the SONA portion of your grade for this course.
  6. If the researcher does not show up within ten minutes of the scheduled appointment, you will be compensated with 1 Sona credit for showing up. Please email psychsona@umass.edu and inform them. You should be able to reschedule if you still want to participate in the study.

What if a disability prevents me from participating in research or the alternative?

Students with disabilities that are registered with Disability Services can request an accommodation from their instructor if neither experiment participation nor the alternative can work.  The student with the instructor cc’d can email psychsona@umass.edu for an alternative assignment (e.g., written summary of research articles) that does fully accommodate the needs of the student.

What if there are not a sufficient number of experiments or alternatives that I am eligible for?

If you are having any problems accessing SONA or SONA credit opportunities, please contact psychsona@umass.edu.  Neither the instructors nor the teaching assistants for this class will be able to help.  However, the department will provide sufficient opportunities for you to earn SONA credits if you want them and address the issues you are having within the first 8 weeks of the semester.