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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. The Day of the Experiment

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

    Payment Questions

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

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

  29. I forgot my Sona sign-in information (username/password), how can I log back in?
  30. 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?
  31. Can I do more than one experiment?
  32. 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?
  33. While attempting to sign up for an experiment, I am given a message indicating that I am "ineligible to participate." What does this mean?
  34. Online/Remote Experiment Issues

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

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

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

  45. How do I remove myself from the list of subjects (stop receiving emails from Xlab)?
  46. What if I have graduated from UC Berkeley? Can I still participate?
  47. 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 four 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'.

    The Day Of the Experiment

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

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

  19. What are the experiments like? Will I be physically challenged?
  20. 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.

  21. How much will I be paid and in what form?
  22. 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.

  23. Can the Xlab mail, hold, or re-issue my check?
  24. 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.

  25. Why was I turned away from a study with just a show-up fee?
  26. 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, Berkeley Prepaid)

  27. The confirmation sign-up email says I will receive credit for the experiment, but I thought I was receiving payment. Can you clarify?
  28. 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, Berkeley Prepaid) is stated in the description on Sona.

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

  31. How can I cash my check (even without a bank account)?
  32. 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).

  33. Can I get a replacement check? Mine was damaged/lost.
  34. 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).

  35. Does the Amazon.com gift code expire?
  36. 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.

  37. What is the Berkeley Prepaid virtual Visa account? What can I purchase?
  38. 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.

    Your Berkeley Prepaid Visa virtual account (issued by MetaBank® and Hyperwallet®) 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 payment exists as a virtual pre-paid visa. You can use this as

    a standard debit/ pre-paid visa card. You will be provided a 16 digit card number, expiration date, and cvv. You can use this in all standard online payment methods (Paypal, Amazon, Etc).

    Another option is to transfer your balance into a US Bank Account by providing a routing and account number. There is a $1.50 fee for the transfer. This will take 1-3 business days.

    If you need help accessing your account, contact support by visiting www.ucberkeleyprepaid.com or call 1-855-304-8771 (North America) or 1-604-424-9602 (Worldwide).

  39. How do I claim my Berkeley Prepaid virtual Visa account?
  40. You will receive a couple emails from "UC Berkeley Prepaid" about a new account. In the first email is a link to activate your account. A following email will detail the amount you received.

    At the first page you arrive, enter your 5 digit Sona ID. If you do not know what this is, sign in to xlab.sona-systems.com and go to My Profile. Your Sona ID is the 6 digit code to the right of "Identity Code".

    There are two steps to activating your account. First, you need to enter your personal information. Make sure you change the address, city, and zip code to your own address. The address is defaulted to the XLAB and your virtual visa will not work if you do not change it.

    The next step is setting up your password and security questions. Once completed, you may login with the email attached to your Sona Account or your 16 digit virtual card number and the password you provided. Please read all of the Card Holder Agreements.

    View a step by step visual to activate your Berkeley Prepaid Virtual Visa here.

  41. I cannot log into my Berkeley Prepaid virtual Visa account. What should I do?
  42. Since this is your personal Berkeley Prepaid Visa account, the Xlab staff cannot access your account. Make sure that you are using your Berkeley Prepaid username and password to log in, not your Xlab username and password. The email is the same email used in your Xlab Sona account.

    For password issues there is a link on the login page, enter your associated email address and you will receive a link to reset your password by answering your security questions.

    If you forget your password and security questions,please email xlab_account@haas.berkeley.edu with your SONA ID or Cal ID and we can request the information for you.

  43. Does my Berkeley Prepaid virtual Visa expire?
  44. Yes. You will be given an expiration date unique to the card that you received, approximately 2 years from the date your accont was first registered (Not activated). Also, if you have received a Berkeley Prepaid 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 180 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 Berkeley Prepaid 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.

  45. Can I add more money into my Berkeley Prepaid virtual Visa account?
  46. 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.

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

    Fundraising

  49. Can we fundraise for clubs and organizations by using the Xlab?
  50. 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

  51. I forgot my Sona sign-in information (username/password), how can I log back in?
  52. 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.

  53. 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?
  54. 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!

  55. Can I do more than one experiment?
  56. 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.

  57. 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?
  58. 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.

  59. While attempting to sign up for an experiment, I am given a message indicating that I am "ineligible to participate." What does this mean?
  60. 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

  61. Will I receive a no-show if I do not take the online experiment I signed up for?
  62. 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.

  63. I signed up for an online (remote) experiment, but could not complete it due to internet/computer problems. What should I do?
  64. 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.

  65. What is a SONA ID?
  66. 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.

  67. How do I find my SONA ID (a.k.a.Identity Code or Anonymous ID)?
  68. 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

  69. Will the researchers or Xlab look at my personal experiment results or data?
  70. 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.

  71. Why should I get involved in Xlab's social media (Facebook & Twitter)?
  72. 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

  73. Where is the Lost & Found?
  74. 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

  75. How do I remove myself from the list of subjects (stop receiving emails from Xlab)?
  76. 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.

  77. What if I have graduated from UC Berkeley? Can I still participate?
  78. 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.

  79. What is the Alumni Subject Pool?
  80. 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