Graphic for Guide to run studies at Xlab: Submit Experiment Request form -- Obtain CPHS approval -- Schedule testing for in-lab studies -- Submit Schedule Request form -- Run experiment and collect data.


Experiment Request Form

Researchers interested in conducting research at Xlab are required to submit an Experiment Request form.

Subject Incentives

Human subjects are paid under federal guidelines that are enforced by Institutional Review Boards. Earnings depend partly on subjects' decisions and partly on chance. The amount paid depends on the experiment run, the decisions made by the subject, and the decision made by the other subjects in the experiment.

  Flat Fee Payment Variable Payment
Session Duration Minimum Payout Average Payout Min. Minimum Payout
Less than 40 min. $10/individual $10/individual $5/individual
40-60 minutes $13.50/individual $13.50/individual $5/individual
60 min. or more $20/hour/individual $20/hour/individual $5/individual

Average payout calculation for variable payments:

Total cost of the session / Number of participants that session = $ per person
For this example, some individuals may receive less than $20 and some may receive more, but the average of a particular session is still $20/person. The individual(s) who receives less than the average must not earn less than $5.

CPHS Approval

Information on UC Berkeley's institutional review board, the Committee of the Protection of Human Services (CPHS), is available at their web site. Sample CPHS forms are also available for your reference.

If your research is a non-federally funded or regulated and comprised only of minimal risk activities, it could qualify for UCB Exempt Category 7. Read here for more info.


The complete software program to be utilized on the experiment must be tested in the lab laptops before a schedule request will be approved. There are no exceptions to this procedure for first time researchers. Any software changes must also be tested before the changes are implemented. The testing is not dependent on the CPHS approval, so testing can be scheduled even while the experiment's CPHS application is still pending.

Schedule Request Form

The Schedule Request form must be filled out for every session researchers wish to run at Xlab.

Tips for running successful studies


Sometimes it is useful to bundle studies: run more than one study in an experimental session, for compounding short studies or ease of recruitment purposes. In order to make it easier to find other researchers interested in running studies at the same time as you, please use this spreadsheet and access with your CalNet account.

Clear Instructions

We strongly encourage researchers to read instructions out loud at the beginning of a session to establish public knowledge. This is also scientifically very useful, because a clear instructional script will enable precise replication. Alternative methods are acceptable as long as they are replicable; for example, display the instructions on a series of screens and have subjects click through the screens as you read the instructions.


Participation in experiments is voluntary. Any information about human subjects (personal, earnings in a session, decision data, etc.) will be kept strictly confidential. Unless otherwise stated explicitly, research will in principle be designed to make it as difficult as possible for subjects to know precisely who they are playing with.