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Behavioral Lab FAQs

All students enrolled in Marketing courses that include the SONA research participation are eligible to earn points towards their class grade through research participation.

First, students are required to earn 3 credits (3% of the course grades) via lab participation. This is required. You can complete three 20-minute lab sessions (20 min session = 1 credit) or six 10-minute lab sessions (10 min session = 0.5 credit), or a mix of both approaches for the class. Your professor will determine what those sessions will translate into in terms of your grade. If you are a student in other classes, you will have to check with your professor or syllabus. Most (but not all) of the undergraduate level marketing courses do allow for participation in lab research.

Second, once you meet the minimum requirements (3 credits per course), you may still have opportunities to earn up to 2 extra credits via lab participation (please check the syllabus for each Marketing course you are taking). That is, you can complete two 20-minute lab sessions (20 min session = 1 credit) or four 10-minute lab sessions (10 min session = 0.5 credit), or a mix of both approaches to receive additional bonus credits. The credits you will earn this way are considered bonus credits, which means that they will be added to your total grades. You can assign the bonus credits to any courses that explicitly mandate research participation.

You can participate in interesting and easy to complete research right here in Pamplin. Research sessions typically take 10 to 20 minutes and translate into 0.5 to 1 credit point. All you need to do is sign up online through the SONA system. In Fall 2023, we will open the marketing lab in person and online.

Each credit is equivalent to 20 minutes, with half a credit being 10 minutes. Thus, it takes 1 hour to earn 3 class credits; how those credits translate into your grade will be determined by your professor.

Usually in lab studies, you need to complete the entire session to earn your credit. However, if you need to leave for an emergency, the researcher on site can help determine if you can receive partial credit.

With respect to whether professors include the 5 lab credits to add them to your grade or accept less credits (in a graduated fashion) for grade calculation, it is up to each professor. Please check the syllabus for each MKTG course you are taking or ask your professor. 

Yes, the maximum requirement of lab participation per semester is 6 credits. If you are enrolled in 2 MKTG courses that are offering credit for research participation, you will need to participate in lab studies to accrue 6 credits. However, if you are interested in getting extra credits, you are allowed to participate in additional studies as well.

If you are enrolled in 3 or more MKTG courses that are offering credit for research participation, please see the question below. 

Yes, if you are enrolled in more than 2 courses that require your participation in lab research, you can earn 3 credits for each additional course once you earn 6 credits total with no additional research participation on your part. If you are enrolled in more than 2 courses that require research participation, once you have earned 6 credits in SONA, please email to notify the lab manager and you will be awarded 3 credits in each additional course in which you are enrolled that is offering research participation credit.

First, you must obtain an ID and Logon from the SONA online experiment system. For instructions, please read the Instructions (PDF).

SONA Student Guide.pdf

Next go to the Sona-System website and complete the account information form and press submit. Once submitted, your request will be processed, and an email confirmation will be sent. The email will include your ID and password.

First, be sure that you created your profile with your PID as the login (and email) and did not accidentally use your Hokie Passport number. will receive emails; will not.

Second, be sure to check your junk or SPAM mail settings. Your account should be set up to receive emails from and from Make sure you “whitelist” these addresses, allowing you to receive emails from them. If you do not know how to do this on the specific email program you use, please consult a manual, search online, or call 4HELP.

Be sure to check your junk or SPAM mail settings. Your account should be set up to receive emails from and from Make sure you “whitelist” these addresses, allowing you to receive emails from them. If you do not know how to do this on the specific email program you use, please consult a manual, search online, or call 4HELP.

You sign up for studies on the Sona-System site. Note that you need to CREATE a login for the system to know you.

We highly recommend signing up as soon as you see the system notifications about new studies. At that time, most slots are available, and you are most likely to find a time slot that works with your schedule.

You can sign up at any time, up to 24 hours before the study is running.

In Fall 2023, studies will be conducted in-person and sometimes online.

Most of our studies are conducted in the Pamplin Behavioral Lab. Our lab has two spaces. The first is in Pamplin 3003 and is called the “Individual Room Lab”. In this lab, you will complete the study on your own, in an isolated room. The second is Pamplin 3005 and is called the “Multi-Person Lab”. In this lab, up to 12 participants can complete a study at once, separated by desk dividers.

It is CRITICALLY important that you pay attention to which lab you are supposed to go to and that you come to participate in the correct lab. Please note the location when noting the time of the study on your schedule.

(Only applies to participation in Pamplin 3003 and 3005) Please be sure to note all study appointments on your calendar, so that you do not forget about them.

Please treat these appointments like any other course obligation. Much effort and work go into creating and running the studies in the lab, and we appreciate your participation in them.

Please note that if you accrue too many no shows, we CAN disallow you from participating in /signing up for further lab sessions.

If you cannot attend a session you are signed up for, please log into the Sona system and CANCEL your slot, at least 24 hours in advance (this period may vary by study, so be sure to check the study information). There is no need to email the researcher or the system administrator the reason for your absence; you will receive an “unexcused no show” regardless of the reason. However, having 1-2 no shows will not negatively impact your class credit or participation.

That said, please know that signing up and not showing up has significant costs to our system, researchers, and to your fellow students. Your fellow students run the lab, and when students do not show up, they spend their time idle. They also later spend additional hours running the same study in order to get the number of participants needed.

Also, when you take up a slot but do not show up, that slot becomes unavailable for other students that need/want to earn that same credit. When you do not show up, neither of you gets the chance to earn credit. We have many participants on the system and all of them want to earn credits; please respect your fellow student and do not sign up for appointments you do not plan to keep.

We understand that there are extenuating circumstances that warrant you not showing up. We simply ask that you try to minimize these occurrences so as to support our ability to continue to provide you with a positive experience in the lab.

Unfortunately, we do NOT allow the transfer of credit. When you create your login, the system will ask you to indicate ALL the MKTG classes that you are enrolled in that are eligible for class credit (it’s on the syllabi!). Then when you sign up for each study, you will be asked to indicate in advance which class you’d like to assign credit to; this decision cannot be changed after the fact at any point in time.

You may be enrolled in more than one class that has the SONA lab participation component. As noted above, you are allowed to accrue credits for each of these classes separately. When you sign onto the system, make sure to highlight ALL the courses that you are enrolled in that are eligible. Then, when you sign up for a particular study, you will be asked to indicate which course you’d like to assign credit from that study to. Once you make this decision, it CANNOT be modified.

The best path of action is to contact the researcher for that study directly. The email/contact info will be listed with the study info. If there are multiple researchers and you are not sure which is the lead one (usually a professor as opposed to a student), you can email them all. If you do not receive a response in a timely fashion, please email

Creating dual profiles is a problem and may prevent you from getting all your credits. You can ask the system to resend your password. If you cannot seem to get your old profile/have already created a second one, please contact the system administrator immediately at

Unless your professor has indicated otherwise, you are eligible to participate until the last week of the semester.

However, research opportunities may be limited, and students will be accommodated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Hence, it would be wise to complete studies and earn class credits early, rather than wait for the end of the semester when no studies/not slots may be left.

Additionally, research may be conducted anytime throughout the semester. The BEST way to stay on top of things is to sign up right now. This way you will receive email updates whenever new studies are posted.

Finally, if you repeatedly sign up for studies and do not show up, you may be contacted by the system administrator and/or your professor, and your continued eligibility may be discussed. In signing up you are taking up a slot of another student that could have earned the credit you have foregone; please be considerate and do not sign up if you are not going to show up.

Each study posted on the system indicates how long it would take and how many credits you will receive for completing it.

Once you complete the study the researcher will credit your account within 48 hours. You can view how many credits you have by logging into your account (more information). Make sure you do not accrue more credits than you are eligible to receive as you will not be able to receive credits beyond the limit set by your professor even if you complete class studies.

If you have completed a study and have not received credit for your participation within 48 hours, please contact the researcher for that study immediately (info available online if the study is still posted) or contact the system administrator.

If after reviewing the manual and completing the account information form you still have trouble logging in/signing up, please contact the system administrator at:

SONA Student Guide.pdf

If you feel uncomfortable completing lab research or are unable to do so (e.g., due to participation in 4994), you are eligible to complete an alternate assignment. This assignment will involve reading short research articles and answering questions. If you are interested in this assignment, reach out to the lab manager ( to be added to the Canvas portal.

Each alternative assignment is equivalent to a 20-minute lab session. You will receive up to 1 credit towards the research requirement for completing each alternative assignment, depending on the quality of your submission. If you need multiple credits, you need to complete multiple alternative assignments.