Most people who've spent time on a college campus have seen fliers advertising the payoff for participating in, for instance, psychological experiments: do a questionnaire, get $10, a free meal, a gift certificate, yada yada. How do scientists decide what they’re going to pay for your body and mind?
One option is the "inconvenience unit," the National Institutes of Health's way of calculating how much recompense a clinical trial subject should get. For each unit of inconvenience--pain, embarrassment, annoyance, and so on--you get $10, in addition to an hourly wage for your time spent in the clinic.
But the NIH doesn't precisely define or quantify a unit of inconvenience. Christine Grady, acting chief of the NIH Clinical Centers' department of bioethics, is currently compiling the first-ever study looking at how many inconvenience units various procedures have gotten over the years. "An MRI is maybe 5 or 6, a blood draw maybe 1 or 2, a questionnaire, according to how invasive or sensitive it is, maybe 2 or 3," she estimates.
So if you're looking to cash in on questionnaires in an NIH trial, best to find the ones that inquire about your sex life. The snapshot above is from the Kinsey sex survey.