Sips and Shapes Study

Study details

Purpose of the study

The Sips and Shapes Study (sometimes abbreviated “SAS Study”) is conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) with funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The purpose of this study is to increase understanding of factors that can lead to alcohol and other drug use-related problems in some people (MU Institutional Review Board (IRB) Project#2090565). More specifically, this research has two goals. The first goal is to explore how the brain’s processing of a visual stimulus changes as a result of new experiences with that stimulus (e.g., when we learn that it predicts drug or food reward). The second goal is to explore if between-person differences in learning-related changes in how the brain processes a visual stimulus are related to between-person differences in the use of alcohol and/or other drugs. We hope that the insight we gain from this study will improve our understanding of factors that might put people at risk for developing problems with alcohol or other drugs, or that might protect people from developing such problems.

Part 1: Laboratory Visits

Lab Visit #1 (Pre-Learning)

Visit the researcher’s lab on the MU campus in Columbia, MO to undergo electroencephalogram (EEG) recording (“brain waves”) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning (“brain pictures”) to see how and where in your brain various visual stimuli are processed. This lab visit will last ≈3 hours. You will be compensated $60 in cash for this lab visit.

Lab Visit #2 (Learning):

Return to the researcher’s lab to complete a computerized learning task in which you are presented various visual stimuli, some of which predict receipt of a liquid reward containing alcohol or sugar. Your EEG (“brain waves”) will be recorded while you complete this task. During this visit, you will also complete questionnaires about your feelings and provide breath samples to track changes in breath alcohol level. The amount of alcohol served will be equivalent to 1 standard drink and the amount of sugar served will be equivalent to an 8-oz. glass of fruit juice. This lab visit will last ≈3 hours to make sure you are sober before you leave. You will be compensated $60.

Lab Visit #3 (Post-Learning):

This visit to the researcher’s lab needs to take place the day immediately after lab visit #2. It will be a repeat of lab visit #1. You can earn $60.

If you complete lab visits #1, 2, and 3, you earn a $60 “streak” bonus

Part 2: Post-Lab Online Check-in Surveys

  • At 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after lab visit #3, you complete an online survey (≈15 min).
  • You earn $10 per survey.
  • If you complete the survey the day it is sent to you, you earn $10 extra (“same day bonus”)
  • If you complete all 4 surveys, you earn a $30 “streak” bonus.

How to participate

First, complete the eligibility screener so that the research team can determine if you meet the study eligibility criteria.

Eligibility Screener

How do I know if I am eligible?

If you are eligible, the study research team will reach out to you by email, text message or phone call (depending on your indicated preference) to invite you to participate.

What if I have questions about the study?

You should contact the research team! Dr. Roberto Cofresi Email:

Where to go for lab visits?

View address in Google Maps
115 Melvin H. Marx Building
University of Missouri
1416 Carrie Francke Drive
Columbia, MO 65211-3470
Contact: 573-884-8779

University of Missouri MARX Building


Participants should park in the visitor parking spaces in front of the building. If you are coming via public transportation There is a bus stop for the reactor loop bus in front of the building.

Once in the building

Please wait in the lobby area. The research team will come greet you there.