School of Psychology

Using Sona - a guide for paid participants

Taking part in experiments and receiving payment for it is now managed through Sona, a website which you can access through the link on the right.

What is Sona?

Sona is a website designed for managing your research participation easily. It allows you to browse for research experiments, and sign up to take part in them at your leisure.


To join the paid participant list, send an email to with your full name and Sussex email address (or an external email address if you aren't a member of the University). You will receive your login details by email soon afterwards.

Logging in

To log in, go to the main Sussex Sona page and enter the username and password you received via email.

Important: your username may be the same as your Sussex username, if you have one (e.g. abc10). However, Sona is a separate system and not run by the University. It is therefore especially important that your Sussex password and your Sona password are different. To change your password, click on "update my profile" at the top of the screen.


The first time you log in, you will need to fill out a "prescreen" questionnaire before you can sign up to any other studies. This will take only a few minutes and asks for basic information such as your gender and age. You can decline to answer any of the questions.

Once you've completed the prescreen, you will be able to sign up to participate in studies.

Signing up for experiments

By clicking on Study sign-up, you will be able to see a list of the studies that are currently open to you. (NB: You won't see the same list of studies every time you log in. Not all studies will be available to all participants, studies are listed randomly, and you will not see studies that are full or finished.)

Click on the name of a study to see available signup slots.

You will then receive an email confirming the study you have signed up for, and the time and place of the study. You will also receive a reminder email the day before the experiment is due to take place with the same information.

If you are unable to attend your scheduled timeslot, you can cancel your appointment by viewing your scheduled timeslots and clicking the cancel button. The cancellation deadline will usually be 24 hours before the study takes place (i.e. you will not be able to cancel your appointment in advance after this time) but this will vary from study to study. You may also be able to cancel by contacting the researcher directly, even after this deadline has passed, if you have a genuine reason for not being able to attend at short notice.

Receiving credit

Although, as a paid participant, you are free to take part in as many or as few studies as you like, you can still view the studies you have previously taken part in, and how much you received in payment, by clicking on your profile link at the top of the page.


If you fail to attend a scheduled timeslot without first cancelling on Sona or clearing your non-attendance with the researcher in charge, your account will be marked with a "no-show". If you receive three no-shows, you will receive a reminder email. Consistent failure to attend may lead to your account being closed.

Online studies

Some studies will take the form of online questionnaires. These studies have no signup slots, as they can be taken at any time. Just click on the appropriate link to take the survey. The survey information should explain how you can the researcher to collect payment, if required. If you are unsure, you can email them to ask.

Food studies

The Ingestive Behaviour Unit is also on the lookout for participants. These studies often take place over several sessions and pay more than single-session studies organised through Sona. To learn more and register as a participant, please visit the Ingestive Behaviour Unit Recruitment Page.

If you are a psychology student...

First- and second-year psychology students are required to take part in studies for which they do not receive payment. This is an essential requirement of your course. See your module handbooks for more details, or follow this link: Research participation.

Psychology students are very welcome to sign up to the paid subject pool as well as participating for course credit. To do so, email and ask to be added. You will be added under the same login and password, and when you view studies, you will see that some are for credit and others are for money.

Note that paid studies do not count towards your course credit total.

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