Plain Language Statement

Project Title

Cognitive control, reward and consumption patterns in the general population


We would like to invite you to participate in a project that examines alcohol consumption patterns in the general population. The project aims to see if individual differences in alcohol consumption patterns are related to differences in cognitive control and/or reward/punishment sensitivity in healthy non-dependent alcohol drinkers.

What will I be asked to do?

Participation in this project involves three components:

  1. Firstly, you will be asked to complete web-based questionnaires that will take approximately 40 minutes. This aspect of the study aims to capture demographic information (e.g., "How many years of formal education have you completed?"), details about your alcohol consumption (e.g., "How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?"), as well as general information about your nicotine (e.g., "Do you smoke cigarettes?") and illicit drug use (e.g., "Have you used drugs other than those required for medical reasons?").
  2. Following this, you will be asked to download a free smartphone application (iOS8.4 or Kitkat 4.1 or later ONLY). Once installed, the app will ask you about your alcohol consumption in the last 24 hours. The initial setup should take between 2-3 minutes. Thereafter, you will receive twice daily notifications for 21 days asking you to input information about your consumption since your last submission. You will be required to either indicate you have not consumed alcohol since the last submission (simply tap "no" and close the app) or, if you have consumed alcohol, you will need to tap menu items indicating when you commenced/finished drinking, what type of drink you consumed, as well as the quantity and size of the drink. This should take no more than 30 seconds.
  3. Finally, you will be directed to a website where you will undertake a computer-based task that will ask you to make simple choice responses to a series of words, letters or numbers. This will take approximately 10 minutes.
REP University of Melbourne student participants

In order to be granted credit for taking part in this research, REP participants must complete ALL three components of the study.

That is, to gain full credit as detailed on the SONA site, REP participants must:

  1. Complete the online surveys.
  2. Complete the online task.
  3. Submit data using the app for 21 days.
Other participants

In order to be reimbursed for this study, participants must be resident in Australia and they must complete ALL three components of the study.

Participants will be reimbursed $10 per hour for time spent answering surveys or doing computer-based tasks. They will receive $0.50 per day for every day data is submitted using the app (regardless of whether alcohol has been consumed on that day). Additionally, participants will receive a bonus $9.50 if data is submitted using the app each day for all 21 days. Participants joining the study after the 19th of November, 2016 will be paid via a Coles eGift Card.

What are the risks?

Although we believe there is unlikely to be any risk associated with your participation in this study, there is a very small chance you may become uncomfortable or distressed. In the unlikely event that you are negatively affected as a result of your participation in this study, we encourage you to contact your GP and/or a psychology counselling service, such as LifeLine (13 11 14) or the University of Melbourne Psychology Clinic (9035 5180; Support and/or information about drug- and alcohol-related problems can be found by contacting DirectLine (1800 888 236) or Turning Point ( Support and/or information about depression and anxiety can be found by contacting Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636; If you are under 18, we suggest you discuss your concerns with a parent or guardian. Further support and information specific to young people can be found by contacting Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800;, Headspace (, or Youth Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636;

How will my confidentiality be protected?

Your responses from the web-based questionnaires, data collected via the app, and responses to computer-based tasks will be uploaded to separate secure password protected locations and will be stored securely for a maximum of seven years. These datasets will only be linked by a unique anonymous ID code. Data submitted using the app will be automatically date and time stamped, but no geo-location data will be collected from your phone. Although your email address will be stored with data collected via web-based questionnaires, only the project researchers will be able to access this information. All your data will be confidential to project researchers except in the unlikely event it is required by law (e.g., subpoena). Publications resulting from this study will only report aggregated group level data that will not identify you.

What if I want to withdraw from the research?

Participation in this research is completely voluntary. You are free to withdraw at any time and to withdraw any unprocessed data previously supplied. This would have no effect on your relationship with any member of the School of Psychological Sciences. It would not affect your grades, assessment or any treatment that you would otherwise be eligible for.

Project Funding

The Australian Research Council has provided funding for this project.

Where can I get further information?

If you have not understood any of this information please contact any of the researchers listed above. This research has been cleared by the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC 1544791.3). If you have any concerns about this project please contact the Executive Officer, Human Research Ethics, The University of Melbourne (Tel: 8344 2073; Fax: 9347 6739).

How do I agree to participate?

If you wish to participate, please read the consent form that follows and click the appropriate check boxes and the link to commence the experiment.

You might like to print this document for your records.

Ms. Antoinette Poulton (Research Assistant)

A.Prof Robert Hester (Principal Investigator)
8344 0222;

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