person doing a research survey

Not every paid survey panel has a market research company behind it. Some of them are even founded by academic organizations. Center for Decision Sciences is one of those panels. The academic institution that manages it is Columbia Business School, and they founded it with a goal to learn more about how people make decisions.

Admirable though it may be, it’s absolutely normal that you should ask at this point: what’s in it for me? We’re here to answer that question and see if this panel is worth your time. Since the founder is a respectable organization with a firm reputation, I won’t dig into its legitimacy, as I would do normally. I just want to find out if people like you and I can actually get something from it.

So, let’s dive into the particulars.

Who Can Join?

According to the info on their website, there are only three conditions you have to meet in order to be eligible. You have to be over 18 years old, have a PayPal account, and speak English fluently. They don’t restrict people based on their location, apparently, and that’s the first commendable fact. Many survey panels like E-Pols will only allow you to join if you’re a US resident.

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However, the fact that they won’t discourage you from registering still doesn’t mean they will select you to participate in their studies. There is no information on the exact demographic or other categories that they require. It probably varies and changes, based on the nature of their current studies.

center for the decision sciences homepage preview

If they select you, you will be notified via email. That’s also how you will get invitations to participate in a particular study, which you can accept or decline, without any strings attached.

While registering for an account, make sure you use the same email address associated with your PayPal account. That will enable the automatic transfer of your earnings to your PayPal account. Completing the registration form will take about five minutes. You need to provide your contact info, educational level, occupation, and whether you are a smoker. There is also a question of whether you would allow them to request your credit score from rating agencies. It comes with no risk as to your credit score – it should only help them understand how efficient your decision making is.

Basically, that’s all you can do. The rest is up to them. As soon as your application gets approved and the first opportunity for you pops up, you will get a notification via email.

How Does It Work?

There are various ways in which you can earn money online by surveying with Center for Decision Sciences. They include, but are not limited to:

  1. Interactive decision-making tasks
  2. Brain teasers
  3. Short cognitive tests
  4. Surveys about risk taking, environment improving and politics

They also plan to include games that would allow them a deeper insight into reaction time and cognitive functioning. But we’ll cross that bridge when and if we get there.

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So, it really boils down to taking surveys and tests on various topics. The best part is, they have disclosed the average hourly rate of $16 that you can earn for taking these surveys. Every invitation to join an experiment will include the duration of the survey and the amount of compensation you will get if you complete it successfully. However, the hourly rate is not all you can hope for. Occasionally, you will also be able to get certain bonuses. But there’s no info as to when and how much.

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  • The payment is fairly high. Fervent survey takers, rejoice! The approximate hourly rate of $16 would put many market research companies to shame. Spending an hour on surveys elsewhere would get you up to $3 on average, and that’s if you’re lucky enough to not get disqualified at least half of the time! So, this rate is a very good signal.
  • No reason to worry about your confidential information. Their legitimacy is hard as a rock. The founder, Columbia Business School, has over one century of tradition, and a great reputation that goes with it.
  • The studies are interesting. I’ve been part of many survey panels where they pay generously, but the surveys are so boring, repetitive and dull that I just can’t keep focusing. No such issues here! Users say that these surveys are among the most interesting out there.
  • Payments go via PayPal and are prompt. I just love it when a research panel sends me my money as soon as I’m done earning it. No cashout dilemmas, delays, hunting for customer support, waiting.
  • There are no restrictions based on location. This fact singles them out from most of Get-Paid-To platforms, where you have to be a US resident in order to join. With Center for Decision Sciences, it’s quite easy to meet the requirements. The toughest condition would be fluent English, and I assume you will meet it, considering that you’re reading this article.


  • Earning opportunities appear to be very rare. However interesting the tasks are, they still won’t bring you much if they only happen once or twice a year.
  • You might have to wait very long for them to confirm your registration. Yes, they take time to do it. Maybe they won’t even bother to let you know that they rejected you. There just isn’t a way to know when – and if – you will find out if you got accepted.


Even though there are five advantages over just two disadvantages, the math won’t be of great help here. Simply put, the cons almost manage to outweigh all the pros. However nice it is to work with CDS, they just don’t provide enough earning opportunities.

But let’s not be hasty to ditch this opportunity right away. The most reasonable approach would be to join, but don’t let this be your only survey panel. It just won’t get you enough side bucks. With survey panels such as this one, it’s best to join more of them to increase the earning potential as much as possible.