Click in this caption to go to Facebook, Twitter, or Google Calendar

Guide to In-Lab Experiments

Adobe PDF version

Before filling out your Schedule Request Form, please be aware of the following:

Set-up Time

Schedule 30 minutes to 1 hour of setup time at the beginning of each day's sessions (separate from experiment session times).

Xlab pre-configures the systems according to the researcher request on the Experiment Schedule Request Form (i.e. desktop shortcuts, installation of required software, headsets, set up partitions, etc...)

B.Y.O.S. - Bring Your Own Supplies. You can use this time to get organized and get your paperwork ready, such as consent forms. There are no photocopiers nearby so make sure you have everything printed and ready. We have a supply of pens (please return) available for participant use, but you must bring any other supplies, such as scratch paper, pencils, erasers, calculators, etc. for each participant if required.

Subject Check-in Time: Xlab administrative staff will arrive 10 minutes before each session to check-in subjects. The staff will seat the subjects and record the computer station for each individual. Special check-in and payment procedures must be submitted with the experiment schedule request. Last minute requests may not be accepted.

Transition Time & Payment File Layout

Add at least 30 minutes to the end of the session or in-between sessions for subject payment, sign-ins and preparation for next experiment session. This is an unpaid transition period and not to be used for the experiment.

When the researcher has payment information ready, it is sent via email to the Xlab Administrator for processing. Researchers are advised to call the administrator once the email has been sent. Payment processing time depends on the number of subjects, readiness of the pay file and other factors.

For variable payment, the payment file must be in the form of an excel spreadsheet with two columns:

  • Column A: computer station number (e.g. in order and number only: 1-36)
  • Column B: Final payment amount (e.g. no dollar sign: 15)
  • *Optional: Calculate the Average payout using the Average Function in excel.

Example/template Payment File

Once the payment checks are ready, Xlab Administrator will bring them to the lab and distribute them to subjects. This process requires that the subjects have their Cal IDs and that they sign the check stub.

Over-recruitment and Show-Up Fee

The participation show-up rate for experiments is approximately 70-80%. Therefore, to meet the number of subjects requested, the Xlab over-recruits based on our experience and trends in the academic calendar. Researchers are required to pay a $5 show-up fee to those subjects who come to the lab as scheduled, but are excused because the subject limit has been met.

Experiment Session Time

Once the participants are seated and have completed the sign-in procedure, the Xlab administrator will give a brief welcome including a reminder of Xlab rules and an introduction to the researcher. At this point, control of Xlab is turned over to the researcher who is responsible for all aspects of the experiment.

Researchers must determine the experiment duration for each session accurately. Please make sure to include time for the following:

  • Explaining the instructions
  • Distributing and collecting consent forms
  • Distributing login names, experiment numbers or passwords if applicable
  • Please make sure to add buffer time in case of an unforeseen event. The 30 minute transition period cannot be used as a buffer.

Xlab must release participants before scheduled end time (Transition time cannot be used for the experiment). If an experiment goes over scheduled end time, the researcher will be asked to end the experiment promptly and pay subjects in full. Strict end times are necessary for our participants who have busy schedules and adhere to many rules in order to participate in the Xlab.

Subject Payment Guidelines

Adobe PDF Cheat Sheet of Payment Guidelines

The following tables can help you determine the cost of each session. First, to determine each session's duration, see above (Experiment Session Time).

Flat Fee Payment Guidelines

Applies to checks and Amazon gift codes

Session Duration Minimum payout
Less than 40 min. $10/individual
Between 40-60 min. $12.50/individual
60 min. or more $15/hour/individual

Variable Payment Guidelines

Applies to checks and Citibank virtual Visa

Session Duration Average payout* minimum Minimum payout per individual
Less than 40 min. $10/person $5/individual
Between 40-60 min. $12.50/person $5/individual
60 min. or more $15/hour/person $5/individual

*Average payout calculation:
(Total cost of the session) / (Number of participants that session) = $ per person
For example, some individuals may receive less than $15, and some may receive more than $15, but the average of a particular session is still $15/person. The individual(s) who receives less than the average must not earn less than $5.

Determining the Date and Time

The Xlab calendar is available. Please use the Xlab Calendar to see what times are available for your experiment(s). Please avoid the last minute rush in April and November; sign-up and show-up rates significantly decrease during RRR and Finals week.
Xlab Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:00AM-12:00PM and 1:00PM-5:00PM.

Cancelling an Experiment

If an experiment session/date must be cancelled, researchers must provide the Xlab a notification of at least 24 hours in advance. Researchers looking to cancel an experiment must complete the Schedule Cancellation Form.

Cancellation Fee

We will notify all subjects of the cancellation. However, researchers are obligated to pay a $5 show-up fee to subjects who do not receive timely cancellation notices (i.e. within 24 hours of the experiment) and who show-up to the Xlab for the experiment. If an experiment is canceled after the session has started, researchers will be obligated to pay each subject an average of $15/hour.

Rescheduling an experiment is possible once Xlab understands why an experiment was cancelled and resolves the problem.

The Lab: Hearst Gymnasium, Suite 2

On the day of the experiment, subjects will line up outside of the room at the benches in the hallway. About 5 minutes before the experiment start time, administrative staff will check in subjects by giving them a computer number and allowing them to enter the room. Entrance to the lab is at the rear of the room. At the end of the experiment, administrative staff will disperse checks at the table near the door.