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Sign up to participate

The lab is always looking for participants in our ongoing experiments. We provide hourly compensation for participation in all of our studies.

For Course Credit

If you are a Psych 001 student attempting to participate for course credit, sign up for one of our experiments at

For Payment

The lab is often looking for paid experimental participants. Compensation is approximately $10/hour and most studies last about 2 hours. Current Swarthmore students will generally receive their payment via direct deposit into their bank account. Participants who are not students at Swarthmore will need to fill out a W-9 form and will then receive a check in the mail. Please contact us at for more information.

Preparing for participation

It is not absolutely necessary that you do any of the things suggested below, but if you do, they will help us collect good brain data and make your experience in the lab more comfortable:

  1. Please make sure your hair is clean and product-free (avoid conditioner, hair care oils, lotions, and sprays).
  2. If you wear both contact lenses and glasses, bring your glasses.
  3. Try not to come on an empty stomach, but avoid caffeine and large amounts of sugar.
  4. Get a good sleep the night before.
  5. Bring a jacket or sweater because the lab can be a bit chilly.

What will happen in the lab

  1. We will first use a tape measure to find the center of the top of your head, and mark that location with a grease pencil. This mark will wash out easily with water.
  2. We will then place an elastic net on your head and align it with the center mark. The net contains 64 sensors and allows us to non-invasively measure your brain activity. The net will be soaked in a warm, salt-water solution, so it will feel slightly wet.
  3. Each sensor will then be adjusted in order to achieve the best connection.
  4. Once all the connections are good, we will show you your EEG (electroencephalogram, a.k.a. "brainwaves") and let you play with them.
  5. During most studies you will watch or listen to a series stimuli while we record your brain activity. Often you will be asked to answer questions about each stimulus. For example, you might be asked to read a series of sentences, some of which are serious and some of which are funny, and rate each one on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 - very serious, 5 - very funny).
  6. Finally, we will ask you to complete a short exit survey.
  7. Plan to be in the lab for around 2 hours.

What if I need to cancel?

If you signed up to participate via the SONA system, you can also cancel your appointment from there — as long as it is before the cancelation deadline (usually 12 hours before the study is to occur). Otherwise, please send us an email at to let us know and to reschedule for another time. 


    Students in ERP lab
    Students in ERP lab
    Students in ERP lab
    Students in ERP lab
    Students in ERP lab
    Students in ERP lab
    Students in ERP lab
    Students in ERP lab
    Students in ERP lab
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    What was it like?

    "The experience, despite the weird feeling of a brain-net clinging to your scalp, turned out to be surprisingly interesting and furthered my interest in pursuing the sciences (and eventually Neuroscience). Now I am a member of the lab!"
    - Catherine Xiang

    Catherine Xiang