Ethics and Research

The Harvard Psychology Department's Study Pool requires two principles for Study Pool participation.

  • Participation must be educational. Participation in psychological research is an important and rewarding part of the education of undergraduate students, and research that employs students as participants must be primarily oriented toward their educational experience.
  • Participation in psychological research must be voluntary. Students or any participants who agree to participate must be allowed to decline participation at any time during the course of a study. Students who do so must be given partial credit for for the time they participated. Instructors must also offer alternate assignments for students who do not choose to participate in studies for course credit.

Ethical Standards
The Harvard Psychology Department expects that all studies included in the Study Pool will meet both the ethical standards in psychological research and the rules of the Harvard University for conducting research with human subjects.

  1. Studies are approved by the Committee on the Use of Human Subjects using:
    Harvard Special Determinations: Psychology Study Pool.
  2. Participants must sign an informed Consent Form.
  3. Researchers should debrief participants after the study, as determined by the Committee on the Use of Human Subjects.

For additional information, please review the policies and procedures governing the Use of Human Subjects in Research at Harvard University, located on the web site of the Office of the Provost.

The Study Pool operates under the condition and assumption that both the participant and the experimenter can engage in a cooperative interaction that contributes to the research goals. Although the psychology department and the IRB take every precaution to protect human subjects from harm, researchers may encounter a subject who appears emotionally distressed or at risk of self harm. In these cases, it is the researcher's responsibility to provide assistance to this subject, if possible.

Important Note
If a participant appears unstable and safety is an issue, remove yourself from the situation and call 911 immediately If a participant is unable to participant in the study, due to any illness, offer to call a family member, friend, or call 911.  If any situation is uncomfortable, please inform your supervisor, and the Study Pool office of the situation.