LRC Calls for Volunteers for Study on Effects of Light from iPad Screens

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is recruiting subjects 18-30 years old to participate in a paid study that will take place on four consecutive Fridays: September 30, October 7, October 14, and October 21. The goal of the study is to test the effects of light from Apple iPad screens on melatonin production.

Subjects will need to attend all four scheduled sessions, unless they decide to withdraw from the experiment. In order to be eligible to participate in the experiment, subjects need to have regular bed times no later than 11:30 p.m. and wake up no later than 8:00 a.m., Sunday night through Friday morning. This regular schedule must be kept throughout the study. Participants will be asked to keep a sleep log, starting one week before the study begins and continuing throughout the study.

A man using an iPad in bed. (LRC/LEDinside)

Participants need to bring their own compatible iPad to the study; the iOS update that includes Night Shift Mode needs to be available on their iPad. Compatible iPad versions are: iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and iPad Pro. On two of the four nights, subjects will use their iPads with different settings of the Night Shift mode, on one night they will wear orange goggles that block light, and on one night they will wear blue light goggles. A secure Wi-Fi network will be available for subjects.

Each Friday night, subjects will arrive at the LRC at 10:30 p.m. and will sit in a dimly lit room until 11:00 p.m. Researchers will then collect a saliva sample. After the saliva sample, subjects will use their iPads for two hours. They will be free to watch what they wish during the two hours. At midnight and again at 1:00 a.m., another saliva sample will be taken. After the 1:00 a.m. sample, participants will be sent home.

Individuals cannot participate in the experiment if they smoke or have any major health problems. They will not be eligible to participate in the study if they take any prescription medication (except birth control pills). Individuals will not be allowed to participate if they will be traveling more than one time zone the week before or during the weeks of the experiment.

Subjects will earn $40 for each nighttime session, totaling $160 for all four weeks. Payment will be processed by Rensselaer after each nighttime session. If subjects are not U.S. citizens, taxes will be withheld from their payment. If you are interested in participating in the study, please contact Barbara Plitnick at plitnb@rpi.edu or call (518) 687-7166 for more information. Thank you!

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