Frequently Asked Questions
• What is Sona?
• How high is the compensation for my participation?
• What are the measures taken to minimize the risk of covid during my participation?
• How good does my English need to be?
• Will I be assigned to a study or will I be able to choose a study?
• What is the pre-screen questionnaire for?
• Who can see the information about my sign-ups?
• Why can’t I see any studies after signing up to Sona?
• What should I do if I already signed up to a study but I cannot show up?
• What should I do if I cannot show up but the cancellation deadline is over?
• What is an unexcused no-show?
• How do I know the result of my performance?
• How will my data be treated?
• Who should I contact if I have questions?
Sona is our research participation system that allows you to participate in different studies conducted by researchers at the Department of Cognitive Science at Central European University. After registration, you will be able to view the available studies and choose which one you want to sign up for. Offline studies are located in our lab facilities in Vienna and in Budapest.
We compensate our participants with 10-20 EUR/hour in Vienna and 1500-5000 HUF/hour in Budapest. Participants in Vienna are paid via bank transfer while participants in Budapest are paid by universal Edenred vouchers. Before you sign up for a study you can always check how long the study takes and how high the compensation will be.
We take safety measures very seriously, every equipment is disinfected between experiments and we follow every regulation of the Federal Ministry of Health. Participants in Vienna are required to show a negative covid test (only PCR, no older than 48 hours) or that they are double vaccinated at the reception of the building. Participants are also required to wear a facemask and to keep 1.5 m distance while in the lab.
Language requirements are listed on each studies’ own page in Sona. If at least basic English is required, then you have to be able to understand written instructions in English and you should be able to communicate with the researcher and answer simple questions (spoken and written). If a study requires at least conversational English, then you need to be able to speak and write fluently and clearly in English.
You will be able to choose which study you want to sign up to. You can check the available studies in Sona and sign up to any of these studies voluntarily.
This questionnaire comprises mainly demographic questions that the researchers are using as pre-selection for their studies. For example, if a study is looking for individuals that are right-handed and you either did not answer that question, or indicated that you are left-handed or ambidextrous, then you will not be eligible for that study and it won’t show up in the available studies for you.
Only the administrator, the lab managers and the researchers who are assigned to the study can see your sign-ups.
If you cannot see any studies, it means that either there are no studies available at that moment, or you are not eligible to participate in them due to the study’s specific requirements (for example you might be a musician and we are looking for non-musicians or vice versa).
You can cancel your sign-up any time before the cancellation deadline. The deadline is indicated on each studies’ own page. Usually it is 24 or 48 hours before the start of the experiment.
Please try to avoid late cancellations, but if you need to cancel the appointment after the deadline, please contact the researcher(s) via email as soon as you can. You can find the researcher’s email address on the study’s page in Sona.
If you signed up but you don’t show up in the lab at the time of the experiment (and you didn’t inform the researcher in advance), then you will automatically get an unexcused no-show in Sona. After 2 unexcused no-shows, your account will be limited and you won’t be able to sign up to any studies.
In most studies, individual results cannot be presented on the spot, because they require statistical analysis which is done only after the data collection is over. However, a short report of the study’s findings is sent to the participants via email, and the scientific papers we publish based on these studies are accessible on our website at
Research data are confidential. The data will not be directly linked to your name or any other identifying information. Information about your identity is kept strictly separate from the code and the data. The same is true for questionnaire data. A code will be assigned to questionnaires and they will not be directly linked to your name. We take secure storage of the collected data very seriously. Data will be stored on password-protected servers and are accessible only to the lead researcher of the study and those to whom he or she explicitly grants access rights.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact our lab managers at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are happy to help you!