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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Getting Started

  1. Do I have to be affiliated with UC Berkeley to participate?
  2. What age range is accepted?
  3. Do I have to participate if I register for the Xlab?
  4. Do I have to come to an experiment if I sign up?
  5. How do I cancel an experiment? What if something comes up and I cannot make it to the experiment?
  6. What happens after I register and sign up for an experiment?
  7. What does "course" mean?
  8. Can I receive course credit?
  9. The Day of the Experiment

  10. Where is the Xlab located?
  11. How long do the experiments last?
  12. What are the experiments like? Will I be physically challenged?
  13. How much will I be paid and in what form?
  14. Can the Xlab mail, hold, or re-issue my check?
  15. Why was I turned away from a study with just a show-up fee?

    Payment Questions

  16. The confirmation sign-up email says I will receive credit for the experiment, but I thought I was receiving payment. Can you clarify?
  17. Does my (physical) check expire?
  18. How can I cash my check (even without a bank account)?
  19. Can I get a replacement check? Mine was damaged/lost.
  20. Does the Amazon.com gift code expire?
  21. What is the Citibank virtual Visa account? What can I purchase?
  22. How do I claim my Citibank virtual Visa account?
  23. I cannot log into my Citibank virtual Visa account. What should I do?
  24. Does my Citibank virtual Visa expire?
  25. Can I add more money into my Citibank virtual Visa account?
  26. Does Xlab re-issue expired reward codes or virtual money?
  27. Fundraising

  28. Can we fundraise for clubs and organizations by using the Xlab?
  29. Issues Signing Up

  30. I forgot my Sona sign-in information (username/password), how can I log back in?
  31. I received an email invitation for an experiment, but when I log in to Sona Systems it says "No studies are available at this time"/ "Too late to sign up." Why?
  32. Can I do more than one experiment?
  33. I get the message "Sign-Up prohibited because of Sign-Up Restrictions. There are study pre-requisite or disqualifier requirements which you do not meet." What does this mean?
  34. While attempting to sign up for an experiment, I am given a message indicating that I am "ineligible to participate." What does this mean?
  35. Online/Remote Experiment Issues

  36. Will I receive a no-show if I do not take the online experiment I signed up for?
  37. I signed up for an online (remote) experiment, but could not complete it due to internet/computer problems. What should I do?
  38. What is a SONA ID?
  39. How do I find my SONA ID (a.k.a.Identity Code or Anonymous ID)?
  40. Privacy

  41. Will the researchers look at my personal experiment results or data?
  42. Why should I get involved in Xlab's social media (Facebook & Twitter)?
  43. Lost and Found

  44. Where is the Lost & Found?
  45. Unregister/ Unsubscribe/ Alumni

  46. How do I remove myself from the list of subjects (stop receiving emails from Xlab)?
  47. What if I have graduated from UC Berkeley? Can I still participate?
  48. What is the Alumni Subject Pool?


    Getting Started

  1. Do I have to be affiliated with UC Berkeley to participate?
  2. Yes, you must be a currently enrolled UCB undergraduate/graduate or staff/faculty with a Cal/employee ID number to participate in the Xlab.

  3. What age range is accepted?
  4. You must be 18 years or older due to regulations from the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS).

  5. Do I have to participate if I register for the Xlab?
  6. No, participation in Xlab experiments is completely voluntary. You choose the time and date that is convenient for you. However, when you sign up, we expect you to be there. See below.

  7. Do I have to come to an experiment if I sign up?
  8. Yes! Our experiments can only work if all subjects who sign up, show up. If you sign up for an experiment we expect you to be present. If you fail to cancel yourself from the experiment and do not show up, you will receive a "no-show." If you miss three experiments, your account will automatically be disabled and you will be restricted from participating in the Xlab.

  9. How do I cancel an experiment? What if something comes up and I cannot make it to the experiment?
  10. If you are unable to attend the experiment, cancel yourself from the sign up list at least 24 hours before the start of the experiment to make your slot available to other participants. To do so, sign in to Sona Systems and cancel yourself prior to the experiment.This way, you will not receive a "no-show."

  11. What happens after I register and sign up for an experiment?
  12. When new experiments are scheduled, you will receive an email inviting you to sign up and participate. Also, you will receive a reminder email a day before your experiment date. If you receive an email invitation but cannot see any experiments on SONA, see Issues with Signing Up below.

  13. What does "course" mean?
  14. For student subjects it is the field that their major or academic focus belongs to. Make sure to select only one course. This is used for internal purposes. UCB Staff members are grouped as 'UCB.Staff'.

  15. Can I receive course credit?
  16. No. Each credit you earn in the Xlab is used for internal purposes and will NOT affect your Haas Behavioral Lab (UGBA) credit, RPP credits, or any other UC Berkeley course credit amount. In other words, we do not give course credit through our subject pool. Haas undergraduate business students: keep in mind that the Haas UGBA Behavioral Lab has a very similar Sona webpage HAAS.sona-systems.com, not to be confused with us at XLAB.sona-systems.com

    The Day Of the Experiment

  17. Where is the Xlab located?
  18. S460 Haas School of Business (Student Services Building). See Map.

  19. How long do the experiments last?
  20. In general, they fall in the range of 1 hour - 1.5 hours.

  21. What are the experiments like? Will I be physically challenged?
  22. Generally, experiments involve using a laptop computer to perform an exercise that may involve questionnaires, economic games, psychological questions; any application of the social sciences that can be experimentalized falls inside the Xlab domain. All in-lab experiments are non-invasive.

  23. How much will I be paid and in what form?
  24. Payouts vary, but the average payment is $15 per hour of participation (however, this does NOT mean you are getting paid by the hour. Some participants may receive more, some may receive less). The payout is given out by check directly after the experiment or virtually (Amazon.com ), which may take longer. Check each experiment's study information on Sona Systems for the payout information before signing up for each experiment.

  25. Can the Xlab mail, hold, or re-issue my check?
  26. No, the Xlab does not mail or hold checks. Your check will be voided if you do not claim it directly after the experiment. We do no re-issue lost or expired checks.

  27. Why was I turned away from a study with just a show-up fee?
  28. Many studies can accommodate only an exact number of participants. Extra participants are recruited to avoid having to cancel a session. When more people show up on time than are needed, some are turned away with the show up fee and are sometimes given the opportunity to sign up again for a different session. The participants who show up earliest have priority.
    Also, there are some studies that require obtaining a particular demographic balance which may result in the turning away of participants and given a show-up fee.

    Payment Questions (Checks, Amazon, Citibank)

  29. The confirmation sign-up email says I will receive credit for the experiment, but I thought I was receiving payment. Can you clarify?
  30. We do not give course credit through our subject pool. We unfortunately cannot change the automatic confirmation emails from SONA to get rid of the confusing "credit" score. You will receive payment by participating in Xlab experiments. Payment type (i.e. check, Amazon, Citibank) is stated in the description on Sona.

  31. Does my (physical) check expire?
  32. Yes. Your check will expire 6 months after the print date. We will not re-issue expired checks.

  33. How can I cash my check (even without a bank account)?
  34. If you do not have a bank account or do not have your local bank nearby, anyone can cash their checks from Xlab with the bank teller at any Bank of America. You only need to show some sort of photo ID card (i.e. passport, Cal ID, driver's license). The closest Bank of America to campus is near Bancroft Way and Telegraph Ave (see address and hours here).

  35. Can I get a replacement check? Mine was damaged/lost.
  36. Unless you have the original (in the case that it was damaged) check, we cannot issue another. Please contact the Xlab by email if your check was damaged (you must be able to return the original check to us).

  37. Does the Amazon.com gift code expire?
  38. No, Amazon gift codes never expire as long as Amazon.com still exists! More info on how to use the gift card, restrictions, checking the balance, etc. at Amazon.com Gift Cards.

  39. What is the Citibank virtual Visa account? What can I purchase?
  40. Xlab will no longer support Citibank Visa accounts. We recommend emptying your account (such as sending yourself an Amazon gift card) to avoid difficulties with logging in later on. Xlab will not be able to help with forgotten log-in information after June 2014.

    The following is directly from the Citibank website:
    Your Visa virtual account works just like a prepaid Visa without the plastic card. Use it to shop almost anywhere online:
    1. Shop at any website that accepts Visa debit cards.
    2. Purchase amount cannot exceed your balance (e.g tax, shipping).
    3. Enter your Visa virtual details at checkout.

    Your Citibank virtual account "Dashboard" should look something like the screenshot below (after you have copy & pasted your claim code and created a user name/password): Citibank Dashboard

  41. How do I claim my Citibank virtual Visa account?
  42. You will receive an email with the Reward Code. Next, go to prepaid.citi.com/xlab (see image below). First, enter the Reward Code from the email into the "Have a Reward Code?" box. Next, create a user name and password. Finally, you will be asked to set some security questions. Important! Record your Citibank user name and password immediately in a safe place (since it may differ from your Xlab user name & password); we recommend storing it on the cloud (i.e. Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud) in case your computer dies. The Xlab cannot access forgotten Citibank account user names, passwords, or security questions! Finally, please change the default address and phone number to your own.

    Xlab will no longer support Citibank Visa accounts. We recommend emptying your account (such as sending yourself an Amazon gift card) to avoid difficulties with logging in later on. Xlab will not be able to help with forgotten log-in information after June 2014.

    Citibank Claim steps

  43. I cannot log into my Citibank virtual Visa account. What should I do?
  44. Xlab will no longer support Citibank Visa accounts. We recommend emptying your account (such as sending yourself an Amazon gift card) to avoid difficulties with logging in later on. Xlab will not be able to help with forgotten log-in information after June 2014.

    Since this is your personal Citibank Visa account, the Xlab staff cannot access your username, password, security question, or resend your Reward Code. Make sure that you are using your Citibank username and password to log in, not your Xlab username and password.

    For username, password, or security question issues, you must contact Citibank directly: help@citiprepaid.com or call customer service at 1 (800) 439-9568.

    If you need the default address and phone number linked to your Citibank account, please email us at xlab_account@haas.berkeley.edu. Be sure to include your SONA ID and email address you registered with Xlab in your email. They may also ask for your "PU ID," which is the same as your 5-digit Sona ID (found in "My Profile" of Xlab-Sona). The account will be under your full name.

  45. Does my Citibank virtual Visa expire?
  46. Yes. First, you must activate your reward code within 30 days. Next, the expiration date is one year from the month which the reward code was sent (it is stated in your account's "dashboard" under the card number). Also, if you have received a Citibank virtual Visa payment from the Xlab in the past, you may be subject to the maintenance fee. To avoid a monthly maintenance fee of $3, you must use your account every 90 days. We recommend buying a gift card for yourself online, such as Amazon (load as little as $0.15) to empty your account. If you are unsure if you have had a Citibank account before or would like to know if it has been a year since your last payment, please email us at xlab_account@haas.berkeley.edu and we can check for you.

    Xlab will no longer support Citibank Visa accounts. We recommend emptying your account (such as sending yourself an Amazon gift card) to avoid difficulties with logging in later on. Xlab will not be able to help with forgotten log-in information after June 2014.

  47. Can I add more money into my Citibank virtual Visa account?
  48. By participating in other Xlab experiments with the virutal Visa payout, you can add more money and rollover the previous amount into your account. However, you cannot personally add more money into your account.

  49. Does Xlab re-issue expired reward codes or virtual money?
  50. No. We do not resend expired/lost codes, payments, or checks.

    Fundraising

  51. Can we fundraise for clubs and organizations by using the Xlab?
  52. Yes! To do so, have each member register and sign up for experiments. The checks, however, can only be written to individual Cal students/staff, not to clubs/organizations, so each member should cash their check and donate it to the club. Members can prove the amount raised with the receipt stub from the check (the middle part of the check sheet handed out at the end of each experiment). If you have more questions, feel free to email us at xlab_account@haas.berkeley.edu.

    Issues Signing Up

  53. I forgot my Sona sign-in information (username/password), how can I log back in?
  54. Please email the administrative assistants at xlab_account@haas.berkeley.edu with your concern, your full name, and Cal ID number so that we can reset your password.

  55. I received an email invitation for an experiment, but when I log in to Sona Systems it says "No studies are available at this time"/ "Too late to sign up." Why?
  56. You cannot see any experiments because all available timeslots have already been filled (once the study is full, it disappears from view). Since we use a first come, first served basis, the sooner you see the email invitation, the better chance you have that the timeslots have not been completely filled. You may find that following our Twitter and/or Facebook Page might alert you more quickly. Good luck!

  57. Can I do more than one experiment?
  58. The Xlab offers many different experiment topics. Everyone is invited to participate in as many as they wish. Many of our experiments, however, have restrictions that only allow a subject to participate once in a specific experiment topic.

  59. I get the message "Sign-Up prohibited because of Sign-Up Restrictions. There are study pre-requisite or disqualifier requirements which you do not meet." What does this mean?
  60. Most likely, this means that you have already taken the experiment in the past. See above question and answer. It may also mean that an incomplete prescreen survey (taken when first registered with Xlab) disqualifies you from a particular experiment's pre-requirements.

  61. While attempting to sign up for an experiment, I am given a message indicating that I am "ineligible to participate." What does this mean?
  62. Individual researchers may specify research parameters that disqualify you from participation, such as sex, race, ethnicity, age, native language, expected year of graduation, et cetera. If you choose to decline answering any of these in the pre-screen survey, you may also be restricted from certain experiments. This may also happen if you have already participated in a session of the same study.

    Online/Remote Experiment Issues

  63. Will I receive a no-show if I do not take the online experiment I signed up for?
  64. Yes, we expect you to complete the online survey/experiment if you have signed up for it. You will receive a no-show if you fail to complete the online experiment. If there is a second part of the experiment, you will also be denied to participate.

  65. I signed up for an online (remote) experiment, but could not complete it due to internet/computer problems. What should I do?
  66. Please email xlab_account@haas.berkeley.edu as soon as this happens with details such as the Experiment ID or name (i.e. "A2012-03-098") and what problems have occurred (e.g. specific error messages). Please do not take the experiment more than once, unless instructed to do so by the researcher or the Xlab staff via email approval.

  67. What is a SONA ID?
  68. Your identity code is a unique 5-digit number that is assigned when you register with the Xlab on Sona-Systems. It is used by researchers to keep your information anonymous. The researcher may ask for your SONA ID instead of other personal information during an online (remote) survey. It is NOT your username, Cal student ID, or email.

  69. How do I find my SONA ID (a.k.a.Identity Code or Anonymous ID)?
  70. To find your Sona ID, log into xlab.sona-systems.com, click on "My Profile", and it will be on the second line (underneath your name) as "Identity Code." Also, it is located at the bottom of confirmation sign-up emails.

    Privacy Concerns

  71. Will the researchers or Xlab look at my personal experiment results or data?
  72. No, the researcher do not have your personal information such as name or student ID to connect data collected from the experiemnt. Xlab has your personal information but does not have access to data collected from the experiment. Your identity as a participant will never be revealed in publications or data that is made publicly available.

  73. Why should I get involved in Xlab's social media (Facebook & Twitter)?
  74. Our intent is to simply make quick and helpful announcements without bombarding you with any more emails from us. Oftentimes, we announce new experiments or timeslot openings on Facebook and Twitter before emailing the masses, so you might have a better chance of signing up before the slots are filled. Joining our social networks will not help or hurt you in eligibility for different experiments.

    Lost and Found

  75. Where is the Lost & Found?
  76. If you think that you left something behind in the Xlab, please contact the Administration at xlab_account@haas.berkeley.edu. Please describe your lost item and include the time and date that you were in the lab. Also, there is a possibility that it was taken to the Haas Lost & Found box located in S-545 (Haas mailroom).

    Unregister/Unsubscribe/Alumni

  77. How do I remove myself from the list of subjects (stop receiving emails from Xlab)?
  78. Fill out the email you registered with and your Cal ID on the page: Unregister/Join Alumni Pool. Or, e-mail us stating you wish to be removed from the subject pool, including some simple identity information such as the email you registered with and your first and last name.

  79. What if I have graduated from UC Berkeley? Can I still participate?
  80. If you have graduated UC Berkeley and participated in Xlab experiments while still a student at Cal, you are eligible to take online experiments from your home if are in the Alumni subject pool. Unfortunately, you may no longer come into the physical location of Xlab to participate in experiments. To join, fill out the form completely in Unregister/Join Alumni Pool. to be added to the Alumni subject pool. Please make sure to specify which email you would like to be contacted by because your berkeley.edu account may expire within a few months of graduation. You can also log in to your SONA account and update your email.

  81. What is the Alumni Subject Pool?
  82. The Xlab's "Alumni Subject Pool" allows participants to take new online survey and experiments from a personal computer or smartphone. You will receive invitation emails for online survey/experiments only. Payment will be paid virtually, by Amazon.com gift code via email. Sign up now!


If you have further questions, please email us at xlab_account@haas.berkeley.edu