The Chicago Center for Decision Research has recently started offering paid virtual labs to worldwide participants interested in contributing to behavioral science studies. But, is it worth signing up?
This Chicago CDR review and earning guide breaks everything down, including how the virtual labs work, who can join, how safe it is, the earning potential, and more. All backed by first-hand experience, reviews, insights, and data from real Chicago CDR participants and other sources around the web.
Be sure to read on before signing up!
Table of Contents
- Key Points ⚡
- What is Chicago CDR?
- Is It Legit?
- Payment Proof
- Who Can Join?
- Safety Inspection
- Support Quality
- How Do CDR Virtual Labs Work?
- Earning Potential
- Review and Rating Breakdown
- Ways to Earn + Tips
- Ways to Cash Out
- Additional Tips, Notes, Features
- Reviews From Real Users
- Pros and Cons
- Is It Worth It?
- How to Get Started
- Final Thoughts
Key Points ⚡
|Avg. Work Volume||A few opportunities a month|
|Avg. Time to 1st Withdrawal||30 days|
|Ways to Earn||Testing mobile games|
|Payout Options||Gift Cards|
|Payment Speed||Up to 2 business days|
This Chicago CDR review and guide was first written by an anonymous Reddit user from Nigeria who had been earning on Chicago CDR for around a month and a half.
As part of a continued effort, we've so far surveyed a total of 3 Chicago CDR users for the earnings data and other user insights in this guide. (Note that all earnings data is in USD)
I (Dylan Houlihan) contributed and finalized this review and guide write-up by researching the safety, legitimacy, and reputation of Chicago CDR, along with adding other small details. I then proofread and edited everything together for the finished result. Enjoy!
What is the Chicago CDR?
The Chicago Booth Center for Decision Research (CDR) — part of the University of Chicago — is an organization of behavioral scientists studying things like social psychology, cognitive psychology, behavioral economics, consumer behavior, anthropology, and sociology.
In more simple terms, the Chicago CDR examines the ways people think, feel, and interact with others.
As of 2020/2021, the Chicago CDR has been conducting paid online research studies (aka virtual labs) via surveys, Zoom, and other remote methods, allowing anyone around the world to help researchers better understand human behavior, judgment, and decision making — all while making money!
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About the Company
- Founded: 1977
- Parent company: The University of Chicago Booth School of Business (Chicago Booth)
- Located: 5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637
- Founder(s): Hillel Einhorn
- Socials: Twitter
- Contact details: CDRlabs@chicagobooth.edu | 773.834.9857
Is the Chicago Center for Decision Research Legit?
Yes, the Chicago CDR is legit. It's run by a reputable university and the organization has been conducting research labs for many years now.
Here's are some key reasons why we believe the Chicago CDR is NOT a scam:
- It's free to get started as a research participant
- They're very honest and straightforward about how their virtual labs work and how you can join and make money
- It's easy to find the team behind Chicago CDR; they have a clear faculty page. It's also easy to find contact information (phone or email) if you need to contact the lab staff for any reason.
- They pay on time and promptly
To further show that Chicago CDR is a legit panel, here's a payment proof from our reviewer:
Who Can Join? (Requirements)
- Age requirement: Participants must be 18 years or older to register.
- Country requirements: Worldwide. As always, opportunities can vary by location.
- Device requirements: Any device that allows you to access the internet with a browser. A strong internet connection. For some studies (i.e. virtual complex studies), you'll need a desktop computer that can run Zoom.
- Payout requirements: You'll need a valid email to receive your Amazon gift card payments.
- Other requirements: English fluency, basic computer skills, and the ability to maneuver a Zoom video call (for more complex studies).
Conducted on October 11, 2021.
- SSL certificate? Yes.
- Personal data collected from CDR participants:
- For registration: First name, last name, email address,
- For account creation: Age group, gender identity, ethnicity, level of English fluency, other languages you know, student status (if you're a student), employment status, income status, annual household income, zip/postal code, country.
- Note: some of these questions are optional
- Do they share user data? No, user information is kept confidential.
- Do they sell user data? No.
- Can you opt out? Yes, you can contact Chicago Booth to have your information removed.
- Can you delete your account and data? Yes, contact CDRlabs@chicagobooth.edu.
Is the Chicago CDR Safe?
The Chicago Center for Decision Research seems like a completely safe website to use and participate in studies on.
That said, this Youtube video they uploaded explaining how the lab studies work mentions that the personal information of respondents is always kept 100% confidential.
Of course, your information most likely will be shared with some of the research staff inside the CDR. I'm not sure how they would conduct their studies otherwise.
In some cases, you may be asked to join live Zoom calls for studies as well, which means sharing your face with researchers. If that makes you uncomfortable, you can stick to the question-based surveys on CDR, but you'll be missing out on a large chunk of work.
Overall, I'd say Chicago CDR is one of the safer focus group/survey sites out there. And the fact it's run by a reputable university makes me even more confident in that verdict.
Obligatory disclaimer: Nothing on the internet is 100% safe or private. The above are opinions based on our independent research. Please take caution and do your own due diligence.
Chicago CDR Support Quality
Of the 3 Chicago CDR users we've surveyed, only 1 had experience contacting the support team. Here's what they had to say:
Their contact support is very helpful. I contacted them about payment issues and they responded after 24 hours.– u/AggressiveSet8737
Have experience with Chicago CDR support? Leave a review below.
How Do Chicago CDR Virtual Labs Work?
Following the pandemic, all Chicago CDR studies have been moved online to the Virtual Lab.
Earning with the Chicago CDR (Center for Decision Research) is pretty easy. You can access the website via your PC or mobile phone browser where you can register and start participating in studies.
This is not a strict work arrangement — you can pick up surveys/studies whenever and however often you like.
To earn, you'll participate in study labs that help researchers understand how people make decisions and form judgments. These research studies are funded by some governmental organizations as well as non-profit agencies. Some funding also comes from the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago.
Typically, all studies have a specific timeframe, and how much you earn per study is based on the time spent. Rates are usually at $1 for every 5 minutes required by a study, or around $12 per hour. More on earning potential below.
After signing up, filling your profile, and completing some paid pieces of training (more details below), you can view all available studies in the Studies Dashboard (pictured above).
At the successful completion of every study, you are required to provide your username and a preferred email. An Amazon digital gift card estimated for that survey will be sent to the email you provided.
Chicago CDR Earning Potential
As mentioned above, Chicago CDR themselves state a rate of $12/hour for their studies. Still, your actual earnings per hour may vary from this number.
Based on 3 Chicago CDR users that we've surveyed so far, here are the stats we gathered on Chicago CDR's earning potential:
- Avg. $/hour: $5.33
- Highest $/hour: $10
- Lowest $/hour: $1
- Avg. $/month: $13.33
- Highest $/month: $20
- Lowest $/month: $2
Note: These numbers are updated regularly as we survey more users. Sign up here to stay up to date + receive exclusive content.
How Often Is Work Available?
As with all survey-based earning opportunities, the amount of paid work you receive will depend on your demographics.
Of the 3 Chicago CDR users we've surveyed:
- 1 reported receiving work a few times a week
- 1 reported receiving work a few times a month; and
- 1 reported receiving work less than a few times a month
Needless to say, it's tough to predict how many opportunities you'll receive after signing up. On average, expect a few a month.
- Bottom line? Don't expect Chicago CDR to replace your full-time job! This is an opportunity for side cash.
- Want to share your experience? Leave a comment!
Chicago CDR Review and Rating Breakdown
- Earning Potential
- Work Volume
- Payout Options
- Payout Minimum
- Payout Speed
- User Ratings (3)
Participating in the Chicago Center for Decision Research (CDR) Virtual Labs is an interesting opportunity that pays you decently for your time. The only downsides are a lack of available surveys and the fact you can only cash out your earnings via Amazon gift card.
Ways to Earn on Chicago CDR + Tips
Earning is pretty straightforward with CDR, as you earn by participating in studies. These studies could either be done as surveys or virtual labs (via Zoom). Whichever you select will probably depend on availability or choice.
There are also studies available for children. We'll talk about these more below.
Surveys are questionnaires that require you to type answers or select answers to a set of given questions. The links to these surveys are given as soon as you select the survey in your dashboard.
Usually, surveys take between 5 and 15 minutes. Once a survey is completed, you will get to submit your email for payment processing and receipt. These survey studies also require a one-time paid computer skills test (more details on this below).
2. Virtual Labs
Virtual labs are Zoom studies that could last anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour. This depends on the nature of the study. Sometimes, studies are broken into 2 parts if they tend to extend past an hour.
Studies like this could be a simple conversation or take the form of a role-play.
To participate in virtual labs, you will have to take a one-time Zoom prerequisite test (paid). This test helps them confirm that you can perform basic tasks on Zoom, such as responding to a chat, muting and unmuting your microphone, and also sharing your screen (more details below).
While browsing through the available studies, you can always click on them to view more details about them (pictured above). They always provide details such as time, pay, and the duration of a study.
3. Virtual Labs for Children
I'm including this as a separate opportunity although it's very similar to the paid virtual labs for adults (above).
If you have children aged 4 or older, you can opt-in for Chicago CDR's research with children, here.
By the looks of it, all child studies are conducted via Zoom.
According to Chicago CDR, these studies last around 5-15 minutes each, and typically ask children to listen to stories and respond to a series of questions.
As a parent, you can be present during these studies, but just as a spectator.
And as far as we can tell, payments for child studies work the same as for any other CDR study.
How to Cash Out Your Chicago CDR Earnings
Cashing out with Chicago CDR is as easy as signing up for a study. As soon as you complete a study, you'll be prompted to submit an email to receive your payment.
Payments are not held on the site, they are disbursed directly to you. So, there's no annoying minimum threshold to hit before being able to withdraw!
1. Amazon Digital Gift Cards
- Minimum Payout: $0.01
- Fees: None
- Payment Speed: 1-2 business days.
Once the digital gift card has been emailed to your preferred email address, you can decide to redeem it to your Amazon account, or keep it for later.
Please note that these gift cards can only be redeemed via the United States-based Amazon.com.
If you don't want to keep your Amazon gift card, you can always try selling it for a small loss in order to get cash. You could also try using a site like Purse.io to exchange your gift card for crypto.
Additional Tips, Notes, and Features
A few things to keep in mind when signing up for CDR's Virtual labs:
- You should be sure of your availability at the specified time. If you won’t be available at the agreed time, you must cancel your participation at least an hour before the scheduled time.
- Missing your scheduled study without proper cancelation twice will result in a permanent restriction in enrolling for studies.
- Virtual labs require video, so be prepared to show your face on camera. Also, you should be in a space that is well lit, free from noise and distraction.
- You can checkout Chicago CDR's code of conduct here.
Chicago CDR Reviews From Real Users
Here are some reviews of Chicago CDR Virtual Labs from verified users that we personally surveyed. Each reviewer was given a small incentive for providing their unbiased thoughts and feedback.
Anonymous User (4.5/5)
- From: Nigeria
- Age: 30
- User for: 1.5 months
- Total earned: $18
- Avg. $/hour: $5
- Avg. $/month: $18
- Receives work: A few times a month
- Time to 1st withdrawal: 1 day
Overall thoughts? The video studies are always interesting. Gives you an avenue to earn while contributing to the development of greater things. Using the website is pretty straightforward. That said, you must understand timezones, as they only post study times in PST, so it is left to you to schedule accordingly. They also frown on participants missing studies, and penalize them too.
Would you recommend it to others? Yes. It's a great way to make some beermoney while contributing to science.
How's the user experience? The user experience is perfect. Minimal design for optimum performance.
Any safety concerns? Website is very secure.
Tips for new users? (1) Always pick time slots that are convenient for you. (2) Try to participate in video studies. (3) Visit website often to catch new opportunities on time.
- Payment are sent directly to your email address.
- There's no withdrawal limit.
- When a scheduled study is cancelled, they let you know at least an hour early, and you often get compensated for the cancelation.
- Timing. All studies are conducted at PST
- Payment takes 2 – 3 days
- Payment option is limited to Amazon gift cards only
- From: United States
- Age: 18
- User for: 14 months
- Total earned: $18
- Avg. $/hour: $1
- Avg. $/month: $2
- Receives work: Less than a few times a month
- Time to first withdrawal: 1 day
Overall thoughts? Center for Decision Research is great for anyone who just wants to rack up a few dollars on Amazon.
Would you recommend it to others? I would recommend the website because it's a way that can be quite fun doing their tasks. I've had ones (can't legally disclose anything) that were really enjoyable.
How's the user experience? The website runs smoothly and it's nice and organized.
Any safety concerns? From all my experience the website seems safe, nothing felt off.
Tips for new users? (1) If you must cancel make sure you pay attention to the deadline.
- How simple it is to know when surveys are available
- It takes a while to receive the Amazon gift card
- Lack of surveys
- From: South Africa
- Age: 24
- User for: 10 months
- Total earned: $380
- Avg. $/hour: $10
- Avg. $/month: $20
- Receives work: A few times a week
- Time to first withdrawal: 8 days
Overall thoughts? CDR labs [enables] you to earn extra bucks by taking part in paid online studies. They pay well per study. Although the pay is good one can't become rich from this site since the studies are not available all the time.
Would you recommend it to others? I would only recommend this as a side income earner because the studies are not always available
How's the user experience? I have no negative experience using their platform.
Any safety concerns? No. They say any details collected from the user is safe and used for the right purpose.
Tips for new users? (1) Avoid spamming the screener survey since they will determine if you are eligible or not for the study.
- The researches here pay well for a short time used
- At most times studies are not available
Chicago CDR Pros and Cons
- Good pay rate
- No minimum payout threshold
- Interesting studies that contribute to real research
- Chicago CDR is a reputable organization
- Paid training is given before participating in studies
- Smooth user experience
- Low availability of work
- Payments are only available via Amazon gift card
- Payments can sometimes take longer than 2 business days
Is Chicago CDR Worth It?
If you enjoy paid survey opportunities and you're interested in contributing to interesting research while making extra money, Chicago CDR is worth checking out. The pay rate here is higher than on most survey sites, and the studies are more interesting as well.
How to Get Started on Chicago CDR
Becoming a research participant for the Chicago Center for Decision Research is easy.
Step 1. Sign up
To sign up, head here to learn more about the virtual labs and to register an account.
During registration, you'll be provided with a web form to fill in your name, email address, country, zip code, and a few other small details.
Step 2. Log in to the study portal
After registration, there is a waiting period of 24-48 hours for processing. Once this is over, you'll receive a welcome email with personalized login details. This includes your username and password.
With the username and password given, go to the website provided in the email address to log in.
Once logged in, you'll be asked to fill out some profile information, including your age group, gender identity, ethnicity, level of English fluency, languages, employment status, income status, annual household income, etc. This info is used to connect you with relevant studies, so be sure to fill it out as fully as you can.
Step 3. Take screening tests
Next, you'll be required to take the paid computer skills screening and the Zoom prerequisite study. This is to mark you as eligible for any related studies.
You can find the computer skills and Zoom prerequisites studies by clicking the “view available studies” button in your dashboard:
And then finding the “CDRVL: Zoom Prerequisite Study” and “CDRVL: Computer Skills Survey” options:
Completing the computer skills survey makes you eligible for survey studies. Completing the Zoom prerequisites study makes you eligible for virtual labs (which typically pay more).
Once you're finished, payments for each screening will be sent to your email as specified. If you complete both, you'll earn $5.
4. Start Participating in Virtual Labs
As soon as you're done with the screeners, you can participate in all studies/virtual labs available in your dashboard. Just click on the Studies tab to see available studies, just as you did before.
Once you see an available study you're interested in, view the available time slots and select which is most suitable for you. The number of available studies you participate in is up to you. Always remember to show up and be on time.
Chicago CDR Alternatives
Since Chicago CDR doesn't have a super consistent stream of available studies, it's worth signing up for a few other similar sites if you enjoy the work and want to increase your income.
Here are some Chicago CDR alternatives to check out:
For similar money-making ideas and opportunities, check out the Hustle Finder, or one of these guides:
- Best Survey Sites & Apps (Ultimate Guide)
- Sites That Will Pay You to Test Websites and Apps
- Micro job sites
- Ways to make extra money
- Ways for teens to make money
- How to start working from home
Hope you found this review of Chicago CDR Virtual Labs helpful! If you did, please consider sharing it to spread the word — one share helps more than you know!