School of Psychology

Being a paid research participant

Learn how you can earn money by participating in Psychology research!

The School of Psychology regularly runs research studies on a variety of topics. We are always looking for participants, and in many cases, we can pay you!

Most recruitment is managed via a website called Sona. All you need to do is join, and then you can log in and sign up for studies at your leisure.

Signing up with Sona

To get a Sona account, email the admin team, making sure you include your full name and your Sussex email if you have one (even if you prefer to use a personal email address). You'll be sent a login shortly.

The first time you log in you will need to fill in a prescreening survey so we can find out a bit more about you. You'll then be able to browse the available studies and sign up to any that take your fancy, at a time that suits you.

We ask that you always make an effort to attend studies you've scheduled, or cancel in advance if you can't attend. Missing studies wastes the researcher's time and costs the department money. You won't be penalised for cancelling in time, but you will be for failing to attend, and repeat offenders will be banned from participating.

Other ways to participate

Some labs run their own separate participant pools (usually because they are looking for specific types of people). Details of these are below:

For older adults:


We also have opportunities for children and parents to participate in research - see the lab pages for details:

Frequently asked questions
  • Who can participate?
    Anyone over the age of 18 can join the paid subject pool. You don't have to be a member of the university, but it's recommended that you live close by or are able to travel to campus easily, as most of our studies pay in cash and/or require you to be there in person.

  • How can I join?
    Email your name to the Sona admin team. If you're a Sussex student, you should include your Sussex email address even if you prefer to use a different email. There's no need to email a CV or any other details.

  • My Sussex login details don't work.
    You'll need to join the database by emailing us your details. Once you've joined, you can use your Sussex details to log in.

  • How much will I be paid?
    This will vary according to the length of the experiment. Simple studies that only take a short time might pay £3-5, but longer studies can pay up to £80, depending what the study involves.

  • What are credits?
    Credits are used to monitor participation by Psychology students, for whom participation is mandatory. You're welcome to take part in these studies for free if you want to (or you can enquire with the researcher if they're willing to pay you instead). Please note that credits cannot be used for "extra credit" on any other course.

  • Is the research ethical?
    All studies go through a process of ethical approval before participants are recruited. This ensures that you will be treated fairly, have the experiment explained to you, be debriefed afterwards, and allowed to withdraw from the study if you want to (including during or after your participation). It also ensures that the data you provide will be treated confidentially and used appropriately. If you are unsure, you can contact the researcher in charge to find out exactly how your data will be used.

  • How can I remove myself from the database?
    Email the admin team and we'll take you off the list. If you've signed up with a lab, you'll need to unsubscribe from their list separately.