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School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences - The University of Texas at Dallas

Research Exposure Credits




The Research Exposure Credit Requirement is a system through which UTD students participate in research studies being conducted by faculty and students or complete alternate activities exploring the research process. We welcome students and members of the community to participate in our studies.


All students enrolled in behavioral science core courses are required to earn two (2) Research Exposure Credits (REC) for each course they are enrolled in for a maximum of six (6) total credits each semester. These requirements must be completed by the semester deadlines listed below or else the student's course grade may be adversely affected. See list below for a list of courses and semester deadlines.


We ask students enrolled in these classes to consider participating in research studies in order to receive credit, however, participation is completely voluntary and alternative assignments are available in order for students to meet the research requirement. The two options are listed and described in greater detail below. A REC handout containing this information may also be downloaded here.


  1. Option 1 - Research Participation
    Take part in an experiment as a participant (option 1), in a research lab or by completing online questionnaires; there is no maximum on research participation and credits obtained this way may be carried over into future semesters.
  2. Option 2 - Research Review
    Review a research journal article and write a review summary for each article following the specified guidelines (maximum of 2 credit hours per class, per semester). You will receive 1 hour of credit for each research review summary. Please note that credits obtained via journal summaries are valid only for the current semester and may not carry over to other semesters.


Note: You may combine credits from both options to satisfy the requirement.




Serving as a participant in a research study will demonstrate how psychology/behavioral science experiments are actually done, contribute to the scientific understanding of human thought and behavior, and offer the additional benefit of providing faculty and graduate students with participants for their research. Participation can also help students better understand aspects of psychological science learned about in the classroom as well as dispel common misconceptions about psychological research. All research projects have been evaluated by the University's Institutional Review Board to ensure that they meet ethical guidelines and our secure system ensures that responses in these studies will be confidential. Participants who choose this option typically report very positive experiences.


To be a participant in a BBS experiment you must be registered in the Sona system, a special website that facilitates scheduling of studies and credit granting for research participation. To register, please review and follow the directions below:


Online sign-up system

Sign up for studies on-line at (NOTE THE "s" in https). Students must know their UTD NetID and have set up their UTD email account (see ) in order to access the Sona System.


New Users

At the login page, click the "Lost your password?" and SONA will send your password to your official UTD email address. On the Lost password page, enter your UTD NetID which takes the form "jjd987000" (this is the prefix of your official UTD email address which takes the form [email protected]); do not enter the "" because the system fills this in for you.


IMPORTANT: Your UTD Personal Email Address (which takes the form "[email protected]”) WILL NOT WORK. The system will immediately send an email to your official UTD email address. You will need to access that email to retrieve your assigned Password. You can change your Password once you login by clicking the "My Profile" button. This online system will be the official record of your research participation.


Returning Users

If you established a Sona System account in a prior semester, you should still be an active user in the system. Use your UTD NetID and your SONA password to log in. If you have forgotten your password (or never knew it) then click on the "Lost Your Password?" link at the bottom left of the page; it will email your password to your UTD email account. If you are not currently enrolled in a class, a "Courses" box will appear and ask you to select a course from a drop-down box; select "A. Not Currently Enrolled in an REC Course." If you are enrolled in a course, you will not see this selection box because you have automatically been enrolled in your courses.


How do I sign up for Experiments?

Once you have your User ID/password, you can access the Sona site. Select the "Study Sign up" link to browse a list of studies and sign up for those that interest you. Here you will find all available studies, study details and eligibility requirements.


What if I have to cancel an appointment or contact the researcher?

On the Sona site you can cancel scheduled appointments and also find contact information for the researcher. Select the "My Schedule/Credits" link and then search for the relevant study. You can cancel your appointment on-line up to 24 hours before hand. After that, you must contact the experimenter via phone or email or you will be considered a "No show."


What happens if I have an unexcused, missed, or "No Show" appointment?

Keeping appointments is very important. Missing appointments not only creates problems for the researchers, but it is also unfair to other students who could have taken advantage of your time slot. If you are a "no show" for 2 appointments, you will lose the right to serve as a participant in BBS studies and will be required to fulfill the research requirements using option 2 (article and summary).


What happens in a study?

BBS researchers have diverse backgrounds and interests and engage in many different kinds of studies. Studies may examine such topics as memory, emotion regulation, cognitive processes, auditory processes or personal attitudes. You may fill out questionnaires, participate in interviews, play games, listen to sounds or complete various tasks or computer activities. You may be asked to participate with other people or alone. Most studies take between 30 minutes and two hours to complete and these details will be clear in the Sona description so that you can choose studies that meet your schedule and also your interests.


Before you are asked to begin a study, a researcher will provide you with instructions and give you an opportunity to ask questions. You will be asked to sign a consent form. After you have consented, you may decide at any time to stop participating in a study and your participation is completely voluntary. If you are completing an online study, you will also be presented with a description of the study and asked for your consent to participate.


What if I made an appointment, but I can’t remember when or where it is?

When you sign up for a study, be sure to write down the time, the location, the experimenter's name and contact information (email address and phone number). You can also use the "My Schedule/Credit Check" link on the Sona website to view your appointment information. Note that this option will only be available after you have signed up for a research activity. Once you have scheduled an appointment, you can select the relevant study; you will see a list that includes all the necessary information.


What if I show up for an experiment and the researcher isn't there?

First, double check to make sure that you went to the right place at the right time by looking at the “My Schedule/Credit Check” link on the Sona website.  Provided that you were not late (even a minute) and that we have some way to verify that you were there and the researcher was not, you will still receive credit for participation. In such cases, you will be awarded one credit for showing up (even if the study was for more than one credit).


Are more experiments going to be posted?

Researchers add studies to the system throughout the semester as well as maintain continuous studies. If you are interested in a variety of research participation opportunities, check in the Sona system periodically throughout the semester to see what has been added.




If you select this option, you will be required to read an empirical research article and write a summary of the research presented in the article following the guidelines described below. For each core class, there will be research articles pertaining to course topics listed on the BBS Information Center in eLearning (old BBS Forum). Next, select the appropriate research article; you should be able to access the article electronically via the UTD Library.


Paper requirements

Please note that you will not receive credit for a paper that does not meet the requirements outlined below. To assist you with preparing your paper, a checklist and information are provided as a guide.


  1. Deadline
    Your papers must be saved electronically in a .doc or .docx format to be uploaded to the assignment portal in the BBS Information Center in eLearning. They must be submitted by the deadline listed below.
  2. Citations
    All papers must include APA-style citations. If you are unsure of what this entails, details are outlined in the guide and resources are available online to assist you.
  3. Avoid Plagiarism
    All papers will be reviewed via the Turnitin system to assess originality. Recycling of papers, cutting and pasting text or verbatim use of words or phrases from the article or other student's papers are unacceptable and considered forms of academic dishonesty. You must paraphrase and appropriately cite all content. In addition, do not directly quote more than three consecutive words from the article. These papers are part of a class assignment and held to the same standards of academic integrity. Violations will be reported to your instructor and referred to Judicial Affairs for review.


Paper Content Guidelines

» All text must be 12 point Times Roman Font, double-spaced, with one inch margins.

Title Page (1 page)

» Insert Name Here (List your name as it appears on the course roster)

» Insert Student ID Here


» Insert Course Name, Number, Section Number

Example: Introduction to Psychology, PSY2301-002

» Insert Name of Instructor Here


» Insert Reference Information for the Article Here (In APA Format as seen below)

Last name of Author, Initials. (Date of Publication). Title of Article. Title of Journal, Volume, Page Numbers.

SUMMARY and COMMENT (minimum of 1000 words; maximum of 1200 words - approximately two pages). Note: if you do not meet the length requirement for this paper, it will not be accepted for credit.

» Purpose of the Study (In your own words)

» What were the authors studying and why? What did they expect to find (i.e., what were the hypotheses?)

» Methodology

» Review the basic methods. How did they measure what they were studying? What type of people were they studying?

» Results and Discussion

» What did the researchers find? Did the results support or fail to support the authors' hypotheses? What is the meaning of the results?

» Personal Reflection

» What are your thoughts about the study and the questions asked? Does the study relate at all to your interests or life? What did you learn that was new to you? Is there anything missing? What questions does this study raise for you? Do you have any ideas about how to study this concept differently?


Credit Policies

To receive research exposure credit for participating in a study, you must arrive ON TIME for your study appointment. You can look under the "My Schedule & Credits" button to see how many credits you have completed/been awarded and to the dates/times/locations of experiments for which you are signed up. These records will be maintained in the Sona system as long as you are a UTD student.


Failure to complete the research exposure requirement will result in a lower grade in the class. For each credit hour you fail to complete, your course grade will be reduced by 1/3 letter grade. For example if you have 2 credits to complete and you only completed one, your grade would be lowered from an A+ to an A. If you didn't complete both credits, your grade would be lowered from an A+ to an A-.


It is very important that you complete your required credits by the due date for each semester specified below to avoid lowering your course grade. In order to meet the semester deadline, we recommend that you complete half of your required credits by the end of the 4th week of the semester and complete the other half of the credits by the end of the 9th week. For example, if you are required to complete 4 credits, then you should aim to complete 2 credits by the end of the 4th week and the remaining 2 by the end of the 9th week of the semester.


Remember, you are required to complete only up to six (6) credits per semester, even if you are enrolled in more than three core courses. These 6 credits can be a combination of the two options listed on page 1. This requirement applies to both BBS majors and non-BBS majors. You may participate in experiments and accumulate MORE points than you need in a specific semester and carry over these credits to the next semester. For example, if you are enrolled in two core courses requiring Research Exposure Credits you are required to complete four (4) credits for that semester (2 for each course). But if there are other experiments you find interesting, you can participate and earn additional credits (for example, 2 additional credits) and these 2 credits will carry over to the next semester.




All students enrolled in any of the listed behavioral science core courses are required to earn two (2) Research Exposure Credits (REC) for each course for a maximum of six (6) total credits each semester.


These requirements must be completed by the semester deadlines listed below or else the student's course grade will be adversely affected.



PSY 2301 Introduction to Psychology

PSY 2314 Lifespan Development

PSY 2317 Statistics for Psychology

PSY 3310 Child Development

PSY 3331 Social Psychology

PSY 3360 Historical Perspectives

PSY 3361 Cognitive Psychology

PSY 3392 Research Design & Analysis

PSY 4343 Abnormal Psychology

Cognitive Science

CGS 3325 Historical Perspectives

CGS 2301 Cognitive Science

CGS 3361 Cognitive Psychology

Child Learning and Development

CLDP 2314 Lifespan Development

CLDP 3310 Child Development



Spring Semester Deadline – May 2


Policy changes are effective as of January 5, 2015
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