I saw a post on Craigslist recently that offered "up to $2,400" for participation in a research study at a reputable university. I called for more information, and the study (which is for NASA) involves several day visits/tests (blood tests, coordination and skills tests, interviews) and then culminates in a 13-day stay in their lab to have your sleep patterns monitored. The subjects who do the 13 days are in "isolation suites" where they can't know what time it is, have no access to computers or phones, have no windows, and where the lights are turned on and off at strange times, to see how the human body responds to such cues. People can write the subjects letters, but they'll be reviewed by research staff and redacted if they mention dates or times. Sound like prison? The "up to" payment is becuase you can drop out or be dropped at several points leading up to the 13-day stay.
While the idea of the cash is appealing to me, the idea of being stuck, isolated, in a lab under the control of space scientists is less appealing. $2400 would pay for the plumbing work I want to do in my house this summer, but in the end, I don't think being in that situation is worth it to me. I thought a lot about the project and the recompense, and what motivates people to participate in this kind of study. And then I wondered what my own price is. How much money would make it worth my while to spend 13 days having my sleep monkeyed with and being isolated from my home and normal life? Would I do it for $5,000? Maybe. For $10,000? Definitely. I think. I would think of what I could do with that $10,000, (get a new roof and storm windows) and that would motivate me, but then I'd think about the conditions of the research project and might reconsider. Is there a dollar value that's worth it to be a prisoner for 13 days? I don't know.