Test Subject in Amsterdam


We've covered being a human guinea pig or test subject before, but I had never done it myself until recently. So when one of my writers told me he had done this a couple times in Amsterdam, I had him write about his experiences. This might also be a start to a new "making money around the world" section of the website. It would be interesting to see all the ways people get paid in other countries, and perhaps even how travelers might make money as they visit new places. Watch the homepage for any news on this possible project.

My Experience as a Test Subject

By Our Anonymous Writer in Amsterdam

When I ran into lack of cash in Amsterdam chance brought me to the Amsterdam University where I met some students who introduced me to a concept that I hadn't heard of before. They said that anybody can register themselves to be a test subject and get some benefits for helping out the research work. There are many variable tests that take place - e.g. stopping smoking, memory, language and similar. The methods used to examine the effects are monitored by high tech machines.

The system works in a very simple manner. First you have to register yourself at a webpage where you declare your age, sex and location. Test SubjectAfterwards you can see all the studies that are taking place at the moment and the page automatically suggests some research studies that suit you. Since some of the research calls for people with different attributes then you might not fit into all of them. The alternative to finding a research to apply is wander about in the hallways and info boards in the university. There you might find small ads that declare the nature of the experiment and reward that is offered.

(Flicker photo by Tristan Ferne)

Tests usually take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3-4 hours, depending on the nature of the research. The ones I personally took part were fMRI and EEG based. Some people might not feel comfortable with the EEG brainwave detection sensors and people who don't enjoy themselves in confined spaces might not like the fMRI machine (it's a big magnetic tube, making lots of noise). On the bright side, taking the challenge to sit inside the fMRI is kindly rewarded with 70 dollars.

How Much Can You Make?

Payment is made either through a bank transaction, cash or additional study points for students. Since students aren't rolling in it, then the 70 dollars I received on my bank account through the University of Amsterdam and that took a while. Somewhere near to two months if I recall correctly. The EEG experiment went a lot faster and smoother and the payment, 35 dollars, was paid to me in cash. More commonly the fees are around 20 dollars or such, but correspondingly they are also easier and faster.

Qualifications / Requirements

The criteria are generally simple. You need to be at least 18 to take part and you need some sort of health care arrangement. Now when I was doing this I didn't have the Dutch health care system set up yet, so I used the alternative. The University of Amsterdam has their own health care system where you can sign in if you're taking part in these tests.

First Steps

You can register yourself over the web and it's a common fill-out-a-formula type of registering.


I'm going to leave you with two sites where you can register yourself to become a test subject (proefpersoon).

http://www.proefpersonen.nl - (In Dutch) This one is the domain for University of Amsterdam. It used to lose my information all the time. So every now and then I had to make a new account. Since I haven't been testing anymore I can't be certain if that still is the case.

http://www.gpgp.net - This one is in English ("gpgp" stands for "guinea pigs get paid") and is primarily for those seeking work as a test subject in the United States, although there is information on other countries as well.

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