Murteira, C.; Schubert, T., Lopes, D., & Collins, E. (2012). ScriptingRT: A new tool to collect reaction time data online. Poster to be presented at the 7. Encontro Nacional da Assoiação Portuguesa de Psicologia Experimental, March 16 – 17, 2012, Lisboa, Portugal.
Online research is a standard tool of psychological research. However, collecting reaction time data online currently requires specialized programming skills. ScriptingRT is a free open source software library that supports the development of such studies. ScriptingRT was developed using Adobe Flex. Experiments are programmed in an XML-based syntax, run as Flash applications in any Internet browser with a Flash plugin, and can be combined with HTML surveys.
Three studies tested the performance of ScriptingRT. Standard effects (e.g. Stroop, Simon) were reliably replicated using ScriptingRT, when run in the lab and online. In direct comparison to DMDX and E-Prime, effect sizes were slightly smaller, but nevertheless significant. The results confirm the validity of ScriptingRT (https://reactiontimes.wordpress.com/) to measure reaction times.
Murteira, C.; Schubert, T., Lopes, D., & Collins, E. (2012). ScriptingRT: A new tool to collect reaction time data online. Poster to be presented at the 2012 Association for Psychological Science Annual Convention, May 24 – 27, 2012, Chicago, IL, USA.
The internet is a powerful tool for collecting data for psychological research, with a large pool of diverse participants. As the number and variety of people using the internet has expanded, and specialized websites for data collection have emerged, the value of tools to simplify the transition of traditionally laboratory computer based psychology experiments to an online environment has increased. This stimulated the development of ScriptingRT, a free open source software library that supports the easy development of studies collecting reaction time measures. ScriptingRT is a Flash application developed with Adobe Flex. Experiments are programmed using a simple XML-based syntax. More advanced or adventurous coders can include ActionScript 3.0 code to add advanced features. ScriptingRT runs on any Internet browser with a Flash plugin installed. The program measures only reaction times (RT), but can be combined with HTML based surveys which can collect many other types of data.
Although ScriptingRT (https://reactiontimes.wordpress.com/) is in development, it is currently available for public use, and we have replicated strong standard reaction time paradigms using this tool (all data were analysed using hierarchical mixed models). A Stroop task, programmed in ScriptingRT, linked with a survey created in Qualtrics and shared on Facebook (N=19) showed the standard Stroop effect. The same procedure was used to conduct a replication of an experiment on the interference of verticality in decisions about power. This used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (www.mturk.com) to gather participants. Powerful and powerless words were displayed in two font sizes (large and small). For each word participants decided if the word represented a powerful or a powerless group/person. The results(N=83) replicated the interference of font size with power judgment previously found in the laboratory, shown by longer reaction times on incongruent trials (large font/powerless word or small font/powerful word combinations) compared to congruent trials (large font/powerful word or small font/powerless word combinations).
In addition to the online tests of the software, laboratory tests were conducted to compare ScriptingRT with other reaction time measurement software. In one experiment a Stroop and a Simon task were programmed in both ScriptingRT and DMDX. Participants (N=28) completed all four tasks (order counterbalanced). Response latencies were compared for congruency effects and across software. In both cases we replicated the standard effect, with no interaction with the software, although ScriptingRT indicated significantly longer latencies overall. In another study, participants (N=27) completed two versions of a Stroop task programmed in ScriptingRT and E-prime respectively. Again, we found a standard Stroop main effect without effects of software. Overall, in direct comparison to DMDX and E-Prime, effect sizes were slightly smaller, but nevertheless significant.
Tests with a wider variety of tasks, including an IAT and a Shooter Paradigm are in progress. However, even with only the current results, it seems that ScriptingRT is a useful tool for creating online experiments that collect reliable reaction time measures.