Consent to Participate in Research
Georgia State University
Center for Behavioral Neuroscience
Informed Consent

Title: Cognition, motivation, and emotion in domestic dog breeds
Principal Investigator: Erin E. Hecht, Ph.D.
Co-Investigator: Lisa A. Parr, Ph.D.
Sponsor: National Science Foundation


You are invited to take part in a research study.  The purpose of the study is to find out how and why different dogs behave differently. You are invited to take part because you are over age 18, the owner of a dog, and an English speaker.  A total of 100 people will be recruited for this study.  The survey portion of this study will require about 1 hour of your time and can be completed online.  If you choose to also be involved in the behavior tests, this will take about 1 additional hour, for a total of about 2 hours.


If you decide to take part in the survey portion of this study, you will be asked to fill out several surveys about your dog.  The surveys can be completed online.

Besides these surveys, there are also other parts of the study.  You may decide to participate in these other parts if your dog qualifies.

If you decide to take part in the biological sample portion of this study, we will also try to take a cheek swab sample from your dog.  To do this, we will put a cotton swab in your dog’s mouth and gently brush the inside of his or her cheek.  We may also try to take a small snip of hair from your dog.  We will not force your dog to provide these samples.  These surveys and samples together will take about 1 hour.  They can happen at a city park or dog park, at your home, or at our testing room at GSU.  Our testing room is at 216 Kell Hall, 24 Peachtree Center Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30303.

This research project also involves simple behavior tests.  If you decide to take part in the behavioral testing portion of this study, we will record video and audio while your dog goes through some simple situations like meeting a stranger, encountering a new toy, or interacting with its owner. If you decide to participate in behavior testing, we will ask you to fill out a separate, additional consent form.

The study does not involve any physical pain.  Collecting the cheek swab and hair sample will not harm your dog.  If you want for any reason at any time, the test can be stopped.  The experimenters will stop if your dog shows more than a normal level of anxiety, or if for any reason stopping the test seems to be in the dog’s best interest.


In this study, you will not have any more risks than you would in a normal day of life.


Taking part in this study may or may not benefit you personally. Overall, the results of this study could have potential benefits to society.  For example, this research might help match dogs to specific tasks, like being a family pet, being a police dog, or helping with rescue work.  This research could also have benefits to science, by helping us understand of the biology of behavior.

Voluntary Participation and Withdrawal

Participation in research is voluntary.  You do not have to be in this study.  If you decide to be in the study and change your mind, you have the right to drop out at any time.  You may skip questions in the surveys or stop participating at any time.  Whatever you decide, you will not lose any benefits.


We will keep your records private to the extent allowed by law.  Dr. Erin Hecht, Ph.D., Dr. Lisa Parr, Ph.D. and their research study team will have access to the information you provide. Information may also be shared with those who make sure the study is done correctly (GSU Institutional Review Board, the Office for Human Research Protection (OHRP); and the National Science Foundation, which funded this study).   We will use a code rather than your name on study records.  If you decide to fill out the online surveys, the survey data will be kept on a password-protected server.  We will take precautions to make sure your online data remains private, but it is not always possible to guarantee online privacy.  The information you provide will be stored in a locked cabinet, in password- and firewall-protected computers, and in cloud data storage.  Only the experimenters will have access to this data.  The key linking codes to real names will be stored separately from other files to protect privacy.  These keys will be destroyed 2 years after the study is complete. Your name and other facts that might point to you will not appear when we present this study or publish its results. The findings will be summarized and reported in group form. You will not be identified personally.

Contact Persons 

Contact Erin E. Hecht, Ph.D. at 404-769-6023 or if you have questions, concerns, or complaints about this study. You can also call if you think you have been harmed by the study.  Call Susan Vogtner in the Georgia State University Office of Research Integrity at 404-413-3513 or if you want to talk to someone who is not part of the study team.  You can talk about questions, concerns, offer input, obtain information, or suggestions about the study.  You can also call Susan Vogtner if you have questions or concerns about your rights in this study.

Copy of Consent Form to Participant 

You may print out or save a copy of this consent form to keep.  To download a PDF, please click here:

If you are willing to volunteer for the online survey portion of this study, please enter your name and date below.

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