Participant Rights

At Acalytica Human Behaviour Lab we are strongly committed to securing and protecting the privacy of our participants. You have the right to withdraw from a study at any time during data gathering, regardless of the incentives offered. Withdrawal of consent will have no adverse consequences for you.

  • You are always provided with sufficient information and need to give your written consent before the experiment begins.
  • Consent is voluntary and you can withdraw your consent at any time without consequences.
  • The collected information is confidential and treated anonymously as far as possible.

Ethical principles

All studies are reviewed and approved by the Acalytica Human Subjects Committee.  The purpose of the Acalytica Human Subjects Committee (AHSC) is to ensure the protection of research participants involved in studies at Acalytica, enabling the safe participation of human subjects in studies conducted at Acalytica Human Behaviour Lab.

  • The primary purpose of the AHSC is to evaluate whether studies follow the ethical guidelines of the Lab. The focus of this evaluation is whether the interests of the participants are sufficiently protected in the study. Studies that are found to not follow the guidelines of the lab will not be granted access to lab resources.

All researchers with access to Acalytica Human Behaviour Lab are required to complete a course on research ethics. 


Acalytica Human Behaviour Lab is guided by the ethical principles regarding research involving human participants as set out in the Declaration of Helsinki and the Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research.

Respect for the participant

  • Participants are to be treated with respect.
  • The selection of participants must be fair and special care must be taken not to involve vulnerable population only for convenience purposes. 

Informed consent

  • Participants must give informed consent before research can begin.
  • Consent is to be voluntary, specific and informed. Consent is to be obtained in writing.
  • Prior to giving consent, sufficient information regarding the purpose of the research and methods used is to be communicated to participants.
  • If research involves aspects that may influence willingness to participate, then this is communicated to participants prior to written consent as well.

Appropriate information about the study provided

  • Withholding information for participants is not acceptable, unless it is essential for research purposes.
  • When withholding information is essential to the research purpose, additional information is provided to the participants as soon as possible. Care should be taken that additional information does not conflict with the information in the informed consent form.
  • Participants are to be informed before the research is undertaken about their right to withdraw from the research, even without giving a reason, at any time during the data gathering. It should be clear whether and how withdrawal affects incentives for participating in the study, such as gift cards or monetary payments. For example, state whether payments are only made to those completing an entire session. In surveys, one should make sure the respondents are aware that completing the survey is voluntary. If carried out online, this is done with an informed consent screen.

Privacy and data protection measures

  • Participants must give approval for their data to be used for research purposes.
  • The collected data are anonymous and confidential. Exceptions from data handling privacy described here require separate approval from Datatilsynet, where necessary.
  • As a rule-of-thumb, the research data are collected anonymously, except when it is essential for the purpose of the research to be collected otherwise or practically impossible.
  • When personal or identifiable data are collected, they are stored separately from research data. Before running analyses, research data should be coded and made anonymous, and any links between personal and research data should be destroyed. COBE has set up its own data management system to among other things decouple personal or identifiable data from research data.
  • All personal or identifiable data collected during research are confidential, unless it has been agreed otherwise beforehand. In case confidentiality cannot be guaranteed for any reason, participants are to be informed in advance and they give specific consent to release their information.

Data Protection

All personal data is confidential and will be treated in accordance to the South African Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA)

  • When the researchers collect personal information they must explicitly state to the participants the purpose of such an exercise and from a professional viewpoint why the data is needed.
  • Data collected for research activities can not be used later for other purposes unless written approval is sought from the Information Regulator in South Africa.
  • Collected information must not include more than is necessary when the purpose of the experiment is taken into consideration.
  • The reseachers must ensure that no misleading or incorrect information is treated or stored. If the researcher discovers incorrect information then he or she must make immediate ends to correct or delete such information.
  • Collected personal information must be deleted or made anonymous when there is no longer any need for it

Anonymous treatment of data

All data collected in Acalytica Human Behaviour Lab is as far as possible anonymous or will be anonymised after the study is completed.

Deletion of payment information

When paid with ewallet, gift voucher, cash or via bank transfer you are asked for your phone number or Bank Account-number. These documents are kept separately from the data collected in the study and are destroyed when the payment is finalised. 

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