Recruit Participants for Research Studies

Researchers in the Psychology Department can recruit participants directly from the NYU community (A), from the Psychology Subject Pool (B), or from the larger universe of potential participants (e.g. in online surveys) (C). The Psychology Subject Pool contains potential participants who can meet course requirements by participating in psychology studies. The investigators and participants make connections through a system called Sona.

A. Create Poster for Direct Recruitment

Researchers may recruit participants from NYU or the surrounding neighborhood by posting announcements that have been approved by the University Committee on Activities Involving Human Subjects (UCAIHS). Details about the general procedure for obtaining approval from UCAIHS are provide below in section C.

Department-approved recruitment posters are posted on the Paid Studies bulletin board in the first floor of Meyer Hall and on the Paid Studies web page. Use the DOC PaidStudyPoster_Nov2016 poster to recruit paid research participants, both from the subject pool and elsewhere. Use the DOC ResearchAssistantPosterAug10 to advertise for paid or unpaid research assistants.

Please email posters to Sergej Zoubok ( When submitting a recruitment poster for subjects, please email the relevant notification of approval by the University Committee on Activities Involving Human Subjects (UCAIHS).

After departmental approval, a color-coded copy of the flyer (yellow for paid studies, green for research assistants) will be posted on the Paid Studies web page and on the Paid Studies bulletin board on the first floor of the Meyer building. A copy of the approved flyer will be returned to you and additional color-coded copies may be posted on designated program bulletin boards. Please contact your Program Administrator regarding the location of these additional bulletin boards.

B. Use the Psychology Subject Pool and Sona

The rest of this page provides guidance and materials to assist you in applying for participants from the Psychology Subject Pool (with students in Introduction to Psychology, Stats, Core A, and Core B classes) and in getting the required approval of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the University Committee on Activities Involving Human Subjects (UCAIHS). Please review the instructions carefully before developing your application. 

Only members (students, staff, and faculty) of the Psychology Department may apply for participants from the Psychology Subject Pool.

1.  All studies that use the Psychology Subject Pool need to be approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of UCAIHS.
Effective February 1, 2016, all IRB applications, including those for studies using the Psychology Subject Pool, need to be submitted using the online Cayuse IRB system, which is accessed through the NYU Home site, on the Research tab. A brief overview of that system is available by clicking HERE.

Please note several important special requirements for IRB submissions using the Psychology Subject Pool:
  • Participants under the age of 18 should be included, unless there is an important scientific reason not to do so. This means that a Parental Consent form must be constructed for Subject Pool Studies.  You may adapt the Word examples of these forms by clicking on INFORMED CONSENT FORM, or PARENTAL CONSENT FORM.
  • All subject pool studies are required to have a debriefing form. Examples of debriefing forms for studies with and without deception are available by clicking HERE.
2.  Details about research involving Sona are available in the Researcher's Guide (PDF/DOCX). Read this carefully and make it required reading for your graduate students, honors students, lab manager and research assistants.

3. For your convenience in preparing materials for studies and for UCAIHS IRB applications, we provide several examples of
  • Informed Consent Documents. You will need to modify it to match your study. If your modifications make it more than one page long, print your consent form on both sides of a single sheet, so the signatures cannot be separated from the full text. If you are planning a series of studies that differ in only minor ways (e.g., the specific words in the to-be-learned-list differ, but are all of the same nature), and you want to ensure that the same participants are not in more than one of these studies, design your consent form so that it is as specific as possible but applies to all of your sub-studies. 

  • Parental Permission is a sample form for minor (under 18 years of age) participants' parents or guardians to sign before they begin your study. It is closely modeled on the "InformedConsentAssent" form so you should be able to paste most information from that form into this one. If your modifications make it more than one page long, print the form on both sides of a single sheet, so the signatures cannot be separated from the full text. We will make your version of this form available to students as a PDF file, so they can print it and obtain a parent's signature before they come to your study.

  • Debriefing Form (no deception) and Debriefing Form (deception) are forms that must be given to all Sona participants after they have completed your study. If your study involves any explicit deception, adapt the second form. It allows the participants to re-assent after learning of the deception. It is the participants right to withdraw assent and it your responsibility to eliminate the data of any participants who exercise that right.

C. General Guidelines for IRB Approval of Psychology Research Studies

Determine if your activity is research (link to decision tree). For example, if you are requiring students to collect data for a Lab Class, but the results will never be reported, it is an educational exerices and not research. If the activity is research, proceed.

Before submitting an application to the UCAIHS Institutional Review Board (IRB) an investigator and all colleagues and assistants must show evidence of mastery of human subjects knowledge by passing an examination associated with a tutorial on human subjects regulations at (CITI ethics exam).

Effective February 1, 2016 all IRB applications (exempt, expedited and full board) must be submitted through the Cayuse IRB system, which is associated with the Research tab of  The online brief guide to this system (Cayuse IRB module) explains that first time investigators must register for Cayuse and wait at least 24 hours for the account to be established.

With rare exceptions, the application for IRB approval must include customized Informed Consent Documents, which are displayed on NYU Psychology Letterhead and include language about the investigator, the faculty sponsor and contact information for UCAIHS. Examples of informed consent for participants who are from the Psychology Subject Pool (recruited using the Sona system), from postings, flyers or advertisements, or from online services are provided in section B.

If the study involves any explicit deception then a special debriefing form must be included that explains the purpose of the study and provides a clear rationale for the use of deception. This form must include a section on re-consent, which allows a participant to withdraw the initial agreement to consent. Examples of these special variations of debriefing forms are provided in Section B. If debriefing forms are needed, they must be prepared before the online Cayuse IRB submission.

Finally, before the IRB application can be prepared, investigators must prepare documents that explain how participants will be recruited, list the potential measures or procedures to be used with the studies. These documents can include more measures and study designs than will be used in the current studies, thereby allowing for flexibility in minor modification of study designs. An example of a general set of procedures will be available here in the coming weeks.

When the documents are prepared, including a) documentation of human subjects training, b) informed consent, c) relevant parental consent and debriefing forms, and d) documents detailing the measures and procedures, the Investigator may complete the Cayuse IRB form and upload the needed files. Before this draft is sent to UCAIHS, researchers from the Department of Psychology are asked to arrange for a pre-review of the application by Psychology IRB member, Patrick Shrout, in one of two ways: 1) Temporarily list Patrick Shrout (net id: ps6) as a co-investigator of the application and send a note to informing Dr. Shrout that the pre-review is ready. 2) Leave Shrout off the application, but save a pdf version of the application and email it, along with all documentation files, to Dr. Shrout at Shrout will attempt to review your application within 24 hours and suggest simple changes that can make the formal review go faster.

When the review is complete, you will receive email confirmation, as well as copies of your submitted documents (informed consent, parental consent, debriefing and any recruitment flyers) that have a dated UCAIHS approval stamp on them. These dated stamped forms are the official documents for your research and copies of them should be used in the actual studies.


If you plan to pay participants and seek reimbursement for these payments, you must use this form below to get receipts from participants.