Instant auto-approval - new feature?

Dear community,
I have already run some studies on Prolific but in my newest study (started yesterday) I was surprised to see that it seems that participants are paid automatically without me reviewing their submission first. Is this a new feature? And where can I find information on how it works in detail, e.g., are only participants paid who finish with the correct code? I can only find older blogposts on this topic.
Many thanks in advance!

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Hey @Jasmin, welcome to the community of Prolifolks! :tada:

We’re currently rolling out a paid rejections trial where participants are automatically approved and paid for their submissions. You are still able to reject participants in accordance with our guidance up to 21 days after their submission, and Prolific will directly refund you the cost of any rejections made.

Further information on this should have been available as a pop-up on the submissions pages of your studies. This is a new trial with only a small proportion of our researchers at the moment, so we have opted not to change details in our Help Centre to avoid confusion.

Let me know if you’d like to opt out of this scheme :slight_smile:

Thank you @Josh ! Yes, there was a pop-up but I was interested in the details of this new procedure. It’s good to know that there are still 21 days for reviewing. This was not clear to me.
I will give the new scheme a try :slight_smile:

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That is an interesting new feature, that makes sense since most submissions are approved. I wonder what happens when paid but subsrquently rejected participants have cashed out, or even quit the system.

More impotantly, I hope your covid completely cured.

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I’m also curious about this … I wonder if participants will be more upset by having money “taken away” after it gets awarded, compared to never having received the money at all. Sounds like a study someone might run on Prolific :wink:

My (very quick and humble) prediction would be that “taken away” is worse based on the loss aversion/endowment effect type of phenomena.

Ah, participants receive payment no matter what. If researchers subsequently decide to reject a participant, Prolific covers the refund.

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Generous! And not only generous but probably very good business because i guess waiting up to 20 days for payment is a damper on more participants joining, and at the same time the feeling of being rushed to approve (or reject) was stress for researchers. So, there should be more participants with less pressure on researchers. Win win.

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My prediction is that Westerners will be happier with quick success with the possibility of “taken away”, while East Asians will be happier with slower success and no taking away, in line with Takeshi Hamamura’s research on this topic.
This is is thesis but he has published in journals subsequently

That’s very generous indeed.

I have two questions:

  • will this still affect participant’s scores?
  • does this mean Prolific will be giving money to participants who sign up, give in a no code, but never do the study?
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that sounds really generous. My account was selected for the auto-approval feature but I’d like to drop out. We have quite a special study running and we had lots of participants who returned their submissions after asking them to do so in similar studies in the past. Unfortunately, this would no longer be possible and I don’t want to reject these participants. So could you please remove my account from the feature?

Thank you :slight_smile:

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Hey @Sarah, welcome to the community! :tada:

I’ve removed you from the trial :slight_smile:

Great questions!

It does affect participant’s scores, and yes those participants do still receive money. This is just a trial, so if this is rolled out to the wider platform, we’ll certainly be making changes based on what we learn :slight_smile:

Hi! Can I also opt out of the auto-approval feature? The submissions to my new study are all auto-approved and I don’t see a way in my account to change their status. Can you please help?

Dear Shabnam

Welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

I think that the instant auto approval feature being trialed above by Josh, in July 2021 did not become mainstream.

As far as I know currently in October 2022, submissions are auto-approved after
21 days (on the 22nd day afaik).

If your participants were auto-approved instantly, then again as far as I know, (1) something
went wrong with the system, or (2) you did an unnoticed mis-click on the approve everyone
button, or less likely (3) a mis-use of the new custom completion code function which includes the ability to set a completion code that will result in automatic approval (presumably instantaneously).

Either way I am afraid that if you can’t unapprove via the GUI then you will need to contact
support. They are very busy, and can take more than two days to respond (as we have seen
from recent forum postings).

Prolific are hiring new support staff however

In view of how busy they are, I find this

a bit confusing, but it is none of my business.

I am sorry I can’t help more.


Thank you for your response, Tim! Option 3 is the most likely one as I am sure I did not approve the submissions accidentally. I’ve already contacted the support and hopefully they will get back to me sometimes soon.