Wyatt Robinson


Ridley Taylor


Amber Fenimore

For students at The University of Alabama, it may not be common knowledge that there is an on-site research lab in the Culverhouse College of Business where students can earn class credit or even cash for participating in studies.  

The Interactive Decision Experiment Lab, or TIDE Lab for short, was created in 2018 in order to give students and professors alike the opportunity to conduct research in their field. 

The TIDE Lab consists of four different labs that allow researchers to look specifically at what it is they are studying. The state-of-the-art labs include a virtual reality lab, three adjoining computer labs, a shopper insights lab and break-out rooms. 

Since its inception different studies have been conducted looking at a variety of behaviors in relation to business fields. 

Research at the university level is important for many reasons. Often students do not realize the research taking place affects their day-to-day learning but in fact, it does and is an important part of their experience. 

For instance, when a professor is engaged in new research, they can transfer their newly learned knowledge onto their students who are then receiving the most up-to-date information about their field of study.  This helps ensure that students are receiving the best education possible and keeps the programs here at the University competitive.  

Teaching current research benefits the professor as well.  A professor teaching material through their research is motivating and exciting compared to someone teaching from a dated textbook. Universities with good reputations for research also receive donations from the industries and private sectors where the research will benefit their businesses. This makes for more up-to-date facilities that also benefit the students

The TIDE Lab is providing all these advantages to the students at the University. 

Cary Deck is the director of the TIDE Lab and an economics professor at Culverhouse College of Business. At the opening of the lab he stated, “The facility is among the very best labs of its kind in the world. The lab provides a nourishing and innovative environment for high caliber research.”

Although the pandemic has closed some of the labs at TIDE Lab temporarily, other parts are still in operation. They are actually operating so well that they are in constant need of students to participate in the experiments.  They are also planning to expand to the third floor of Bidgood so that they will be able to conduct an even larger volume of experiments. 

“We are running a large volume of studies right now,” Deck said. “That is why we are planning to expand upstairs so that we will be able to offer the extra capacity and complete even more studies, so there are plenty of opportunities for people to participate and get class credit depending on the course or to get paid for those studies.”  

Types of research conducted at the lab include customer experience management, customer loyalty and relationship marketing, market design, branding, sensory marketing, understanding and innovating the customer experience, retail and service marketing, the role of emotions and affective states on consumer behavior, self-control, frontline employee-customer interactions, organizational behavior, and the future of work. 

Having the ability to observe consumers in a controlled lab setting allows professors and graduate students the ability to set up situations to study specific behaviors they are looking for. 

The TIDE Lab is a valuable resource to The University of Alabama and it is part of what sets the Culverhouse College of Business apart from other business programs. It helps to attract the best professors and students by giving them an advantage in their fields of study. If you have not taken advantage of participating in a study, it is highly recommended that you do. By doing so you are supporting your University and ensuring you will keep a group of professors who are committed to learning and growing throughout their lives. This in turn creates an educational environment where employers will seek graduates from the program and offer them the best opportunities available. The TIDE Lab also serves as a great way to get students interested in research and earn a little extra cash while doing so.