Social Science Experiments

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Many departments at UCD conduct behavioral experiments with humans. Since there is no campus-wide coordinator to facilitate cooperation between departments, and logistical difficulties (eg, ownership, responsibility, design approval, etc.) make it difficult to create a page, we are using this wiki to do so. Feel free to add to and/or edit this page.

Participating in some of these studies is a great way to earn some extra cash as an undergraduate. Pay attention to bulletin boards seeking volunteers and email for more info. Sometimes it's something as simple as hanging out and playing board games for an hour to earn $25. It's fun, it helps out researchers and it can earn you some extra dough.

Who cares about this page?

Experimenters in various departments may want to know what others are doing, what software they are using and/or want to give/receive help in carrying out experiments. They should be able to find each other here.

Students may want to participate in experiments in various departments. They should be able to learn more on this page.

If you want to know more about experimental economics, check out [WWW]this page at Vernon Smith's Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science. Smith won the Nobel Prize for [WWW]his experimental work in 2002.

Departments and Groups Doing Experiments

[WWW]Economics sometimes recruiting subjects for market games. Register at [WWW]http://econlab.ucdavis.edu and then respond to an invitation for scheduled sessions. Compensation is on average $15 for an hour session, and is at least $5 simply for showing up to the experiment. Contact: [WWW]Burkhard C. Schipper

[WWW]Agricultural & Resource Economics ([WWW]Sign up for Experiments). Contact: [WWW]Travis Lybbert.
Students: David Zetland <djzetland AT ucdavis DOT edu> has done Public Good and Auction experiments with undergrads and water executives using CASSELL and zTree. Christopher Gustafson <crgustafson AT ucdavis DOT edu> is interested in doing experiments on information, learning, and demand analysis. David R. Heres Del Valle <drheres AT ucdavis DOT edu> is expecting to implement lab experiments in order to test the performance of different institutional frameworks for cap and trade schemes.

[WWW]Cultural Evolution Lab Group involves people from Anthropology ([WWW]Richard McElreath) and Environmental Science and Policy ([WWW]Mark Lubell and [WWW]Pete Richerson).
Students interested in participating in these experiments can sign up [WWW]here.
For more information contact Vicken Hillis <vickenhillis AT ucdavis DOT edu>.

Political Science: Bob Huckfeldt, Cindy Kam and Elizabeth Zechmeister

[WWW]Psychology. Contact: unknown.

How Do You Do an Experiment?

  1. get an idea

  2. get some money

  3. design experiment (computer or not, lab or field)

  4. get IRB approval

  5. schedule sessions

  6. recruit subjects

  7. run experiment, pay subjects, collect data

  8. analyze, write and publish!

Funding Sources

Each of the following has been used to support social science experiments by UCD researchers. Please add other (even potential) sources of funding.

Software for Experiments

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

To protect subjects, all UCD-based principal investigators are required to get [WWW]IRB approval before beginning experiments (or any form of research involving human subjects). The IRB process was developed to prevent unethical research or research that could expose its human subjects to unreasonable risk. This concern was spurred by [wikipedia]historical precedent. However, the experiments discussed in this DavisWiki article are distinguished from the majority of IRB cases because they are behavioral experiments and completely non-invasive. The IRB process seems overly-complicated for simple behavioral experiments, but it's required. Nobody disagrees with the need for an IRB-like process overseeing all human experiments, but many people hope a separate institution could govern non-medical research in the social and behavioral sciences. Luckily, non-invasive experiments can often be reviewed and approved using the "expedited" form in about a week.

Facilities @ UCD

How to Recruit & Schedule Students

Flyers, ads in the Aggie, in-class announcements, email to list-servs, facebook(?)

[WWW]CASSELL web-based software from CalTech for managing experiments and subjects (free — but you must set it up on your own server).

Experiments at Other UC campuses

Other Resources


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