The Social Science Experimental Laboratory (SSEL) at NYU Abu Dhabi is an interdisciplinary center where experimental research in the Social Sciences is conducted. SSEL’s aim is to create mutually beneficial relationships with local universities, organizations, and the wider community by offering their members a useful opportunity to participate in Social Science research activities. SSEL offers students across the UAE an opportunity to enrich their academic and research experience and inform their career paths by engaging them in the research process. This experience is critical in helping students select graduate programs and informing their career paths. By having the community participate in SSEL studies, researchers at NYUAD are able to conduct effective and regionally relevant experiments. Participation in SSEL experiments is also open to the entire NYUAD community as well as employees of organizations and the public.

The basic research tool used at SSEL is laboratory experimentation, in which participants engage in decision-making tasks in order to test theoretical predictions and/or the properties of proposed or existing models of human behavior. Anonymous interaction takes place over a computer network, and participants’ identities are not revealed to others in the lab. Researchers at SSEL do not use deceptive identities or materials; participants are given full information concerning the tasks requested of them and all studies must satisfy the SSEL protocol. Participants may withdraw from an experiment at any point in time.

Participants generally receive a Certificate of Participation and payment in cash immediately after completing an experiment. In some cases researchers provide transportation and meals or compensate for these expenses. Payments made depend on the experiment and may depend on the decisions individuals make in the experiment. Before signing up for a particular experiment, individuals are given information on the payments that are possible and the expected time involved. At the time of the experiment, participants receive detailed instructions describing how payments depend on their decisions.

SSEL also supports lab-in-the-field experimentation, with a portable laboratory, as well as traditional survey and field experimentation. SSEL is open to experimentalists from all social sciences and encourages collaborators from economics, political science, sociology, and public
policy.

SSEL currently has a participant pool with approximately 500 members which continues to expand. Apart from the NYUAD community, our members so far have included students from the following universities:

  •  Canadian University Dubai (CUD)
  •  Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS) Abu Dhabi
  •  Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS) Sharjah
  •  Heriot Watt University, Dubai
  •  Manipal University, Dubai
  •  SZABIST Dubai

In 2017-18, SSEL will host two Winter Experimental Social Science Institute (WESSI) workshops, one at NYU Florence in September and the other at NYU Abu Dhabi in January. Click here for more information and how to apply.