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Research Participation


Research Exposure Requirement

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At its core, psychology is the empirical study of human behavior. As such, it is vitally important that psychology students be exposed to the scientific methods used in psychology. As such, all students enrolled in PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology are expected to complete a research exposure requirement. To satisfy this requirement, a student must earn research exposure credits. These may be earned either by participating in research studies or by reading articles relevant to psychology and writing a short reaction paper about each one.

Credits required: 2 credits

Credit deadline for Fall 2017: 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 4th

Research Participation: Each semester, Psychology Department faculty and students conduct research studies to test their hypotheses about human behavior. Students may sign up for these studies to earn research credits. Each credit represents one hour of research study participation. These may be given in half-hour (0.5 credit) increments, depending on the length of the study. (For example, a half-hour study will be worth 0.5 credits, while a one-hour study would be worth 1 credit.) The credit value of each study will be listed along with the study name and description. You will use the online Sona system to sign up for studies and keep track of your credits (see below).

Reaction Paper: As an alternative to research participation, you may read an article relevant to psychology and write a short reaction paper. The list of acceptable articles appears below, and copies are on reserve in the Scarborough Library at the circulation desk. After reading the article, you should write a 650-word reaction paper containing your thoughts on and reaction to the article. Each reaction paper is worth one research participation credit.

Submit your reaction paper electronically using this form:  Be sure to fill in the blanks for your name and e-mail address, and the dropdown box indicating which article you are using.

If you have trouble with the online form, you may e-mail your paper directly to the Research Exposure Coordinator, Dr. Levitan at  Be sure to include your name and to indicate which article you are writing about. Either paste your paper into the body of your e-mail or attach a plain-text or Microsoft Word document to your message. (Links to online documents such as Microsoft OneDrive or Google Docs will not be accepted.)

Note that credits for research participation and reaction papers may be combined, so long as they all add up to the required number (above). For example, if the requirement was 3 credits, you could participate in two half-hour studies (each worth 0.5 credit) and write two reaction papers (1 credit each).

Failure to meet this requirement will result in the reduction of your final PSYC 101 grade by one full letter grade.

Online Research Participation System

You may sign up for studies and keep track of your research participation credits using the online Sona system, available here:

User documentation (PDF file) may be found here:

Ordinarily, a user account will be created for you at the beginning of the semester. If that does not happen, then you should contact the Research Exposure Coordinator (below). When your account is created, you will receive an e-mail from the Sona system with your login User ID and password. Keep these in a safe place, as you will need them to access the system during the semester.

Research Exposure Coordinator

The Research Exposure Coordinator is Dr. Lindsey Levitan.
She may be reached via email at
Her office is located in Stutzman-Slonaker, Room 104.
She may also be reached via telephone at 304-876-5804

Articles for Reaction Papers

Copies of these articles are on reserve at the Scarborough Library Circulation Desk.

Bouchard, T., Lykken, D. McGue, M., Segal, N. & Tellegen, A. (1990). Sources of human psychological differences: The Minnesota study of twins reared apart. Science, 250, 223-229.

Darley, J. M. & Latane (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 377-383.

DiSalvo, D. (2010). Are social networks messing with your head? Scientific American Mind, 20 (7), 48-55.

Drury, J. & Reicher, S. D. (2010). Crowd control. Scientific American Mind, 21 (5), 58-65.

Fields, H. L. (2009). The psychology of pain. Scientific American Mind, 20 (5), 42-49.

Huff, D. (1954). How to lie with statistics. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Extracts from the book.

Levine, A. & Heller, R. S. F. (2011). Get attached: The surprising secrets to finding the right partner for a healthy relationship. Scientific American Mind, 21 (6), 22-29.

Lilienfeld, S. O., Lynn, S. J., Ruscio, J, & Beyerstein, B. L. (2010). Busting big myths in popular psychology. Scientific American Mind, 21 (1), 42-49.

Loftus, E. F. (1975). Leading questions and the eyewitness report. Cognitive Psychology, 7, 560-572.

Macknik, S. L., Martinez-Conde, S., & Blakeslee, S. (2010). Mind over magic?Scientific American Mind, 21 (5), 22-29.

Masters, W. H. & Johnson, V. E. (1966). Human sexual response. Boston: Little, Brown.

Sacks, O. (1985). The man who mistook his wife for a hat and other clinical tales. New York: Touchstone. Extracts from the book.

Shaffer, L. & Merrens, M. R. (2004). To catch a cold. In Research stories for introductory psychology. Boston: Pearson. Chapter 20

Wenner, M. (2009). The serious need for play. Scientific American Mind, 20 (1), 22-29.