General Psych RPU Requirement

General Psychology 101: Human Subject Research Requirement

A. Option 1: Experimental Participation (Sign-up for the human subject pool.)

  1. This method requires you to participate in several experiments for a total of 3-1/2 hours, equaling seven Research Participation Units (RPUs).  Each experiment will provide a specific number of RPUs, allocated in half-hour units, which will be indicated in the experiment’s description. You may choose to participate in any number of experiments, provided that you obtain a total of seven RPUs. The last day for participation is one week prior to the last day of classes (there may be some exceptions).
    Note that 1 RPU will be given in exchange for each ½ hour of participation, except in the case of on-line studies that do not require students to come to a lab.
    On-line studies will award ½ RPU per ½ hour of on-line study participation.  Moreover, students are not allowed to receive more than 2 RPUs by engaging in on-line studies (i.e., two hours maximum).
    You will need to register yourself by going to the main Human Subject Pool System page and clicking on "Request an Account".  Make sure that you carefully enter your correct email address and select the correct course, instructor, and days/period for which you are registered. If you don't specify this information correctly, there may be subsequent problems with getting your RPUs assigned to you.
    You will receive a 6-digit ID number when you first sign into your account. This number will ensure your anonymity when you participate in research. Make sure you have this number available when you attend experiments or complete online surveys as it is how your credit will be assigned.  If you provide an incorrect number to your researcher you may not receive credit for your participations.  When you receive an email reminder prior to an appointment, the 6-digit ID number will appear in the message.
    As in the past, all students not wishing to participate in research have the option of writing a paper instead, but we strongly encourage experiment participation instead  (see OPTION 2).

  2. It will be your responsibility to maintain a list of all experiments in which you have participated.  RPUs will be given via an online database by the experimenters and will be forwarded to your instructor prior to the final exam. Grade adjustment, penalties for non-participation, missed appointments, etc., will be evaluated by instructors when final grades are computed. You can check your RPUs at your personal page. Do not worry if credit is not assigned until the last week of the semester. Then contact the researcher and, if not response, contact the administrator (e-mail at registration homepage).

  3. Print out or write down the information provided in the registration confirmation page.  The sign-up information will be removed from the web page at some point and the Psychology Department does not have the pertinent information.

  4. It is your obligation to show up for the experiment on time.  If you find that you cannot attend the experiment at the specified time, follow the instructions under My Schedule and Credits (on your Welcome page). Usually you must contact the experimenter prior to the experimental session.  To contact the experimenter, use the e-mail provided at the experiment’s description.

  5. Any complaints about an experiment or experimenter (for example, failure of the experimenter to show up for an experiment) should be sent to the researcher’s e-mail provided at the experiment’s description. If you do not get a response, then and only then contact the administrator whose email is provided on the registration home page.

Participation in an experiment should be an educational experience.  Therefore, after you participate in an experiment, the experimenter should provide you with information about the experiment and give you an opportunity to ask questions.  You should be aware that when you agree to participate in an experiment, you retain all of your rights and you may withdraw from the experiment at any time without penalty.

B. Option 2:  Two summaries of two published research articles

Students who are unwilling or unable to participate as subjects in experiments (Method 1) may fulfill this requirement by submitting summaries of two published research articles.  The first summary must be submitted to your instructor by the 7th week of the semester.  (Consult your course syllabus or your instructor about the due date of the first paper). 

Students who miss that deadline must fulfill the requirement via Method 1.

The second summary is due on or before the 14th week of the semester.  (Again, consult your syllabus or your instructor about the due date of the second paper).

The papers must be written according to the following specifications:

They must be typewritten, double-spaced, and 2 pages in length.

Articles must be selected from psychological journals and must be relevant to topics covered in General Psychology such as child development, nervous system and behavior, learning, memory, psychopathology, etc. (NOTE: Psychology Today and other summaries that can be located on the Internet are not acceptable sources). Recommended psychology journals include those published by the two major organizations for professional psychologists: the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS).

For articles outside of APA and APS publications, please clear your source with your instructor.

Paper Format

1.  Construct a face page that includes your name, RUID, course section, date and the words Article Summary.

2.  At the top of the next page type the source of the article.  Begin with author(s) name(s) followed by year, title of the article, journal name, volume and pages.  Here is an example of the expected format:

        Rich, C.L., Ricketts, J.E., Fowler, R.C., & Young, D. (1988).  Some
                differences between men and women who commit suicide.
                 American Journal of Psychiatry, 145, pp. 718-722.

3.  Structure your summary using the following headings:

A. Introduction.  State the topic of the investigation and the major question(s) being
addressed including primary hypotheses or predictions.

B. Method.  The method section should be subdivided as follows:

Participants.  Who or what served as subjects?  If human subjects were involved, provide the relevant information, e.g., 103 undergraduate students, 63 females and 40 males.

Instruments.  What materials were used?  Here you report the instruments or equipment used in the study (questionnaires, observations, tests, injections, mazes).

Procedures.  What did the researchers do?  What procedures did they follow?  For example, "Participants were asked to memorize a list of words under 3 different conditions" (describe the conditions) "and were then tested for their ability to recall the words."

C.  Results.  Briefly summarize the results.  In many instances, results are reported in the context of the statistical methods used in the investigation.  You are not expected to be able to understand this statistical information.  Instead, go for words and report the major findings

D.   Discussion and Evaluation.  Describe what you learned from the study.  Although a sophisticated methodological critique of the study is probably beyond your reach at this point in your education, feel free to comment on any flaws you find in the research, alternative perspectives not considered by the author(s), and other mattes that captured your attention.  In most instances, it will be sufficient to simply declare what you "brought away" with you as a result of studying the article.

Note that one of the primary challenges of this alternative to research participation is to condense a great deal of information into a small (2-page) package.  Clear, crisp, descriptive writing is essential.

E.  Attachment.  Attach a photocopy of the first page of the article you review at the end of your 2-page paper.

Go to the Human Subject Pool System login page.

FAQ for Participants