Paper on Arduino in press at Behavior Research Methods

IMG_8401 - CopyBehavior Research Methods today kindly accepted our paper on how to use the Arduino platform for collecting response latencies in cognitive science research. It focuses on E-Prime, but demonstrates also use of the Arduino Leonardo with DMDX.

Here is the accepted (uncorrected) manuscript:

Schubert, T. W., D’Ausilio, A., & Canto, R. (in press). Using Arduino microcontroller boards to measure response latencies. Behavior Research Methods.

The code itself is now hosted on a project page of the Open Science Framework.

UPDATE: The paper is now online at the BRM site. BRM is an electronic only journal.

electro-mechanical turk

introducing the electro-mechanical turk: We connect a photodiode and a solenoid to an Arduino, place the diode at a screen and the solenoid over a keyboard, and can now measure precisely how long stimuli are presented on the screen by ScriptingRT, DMDX, e-prime, or other programs, and how long it takes the software to register a keyboard button press. everything open source of course.

Windows-based reaction time software moves online

It seems to be come a standard feature that Windows-based experimentation software for measuring reaction times also runs over the web:

while all of these offer the possibility to run reaction time studies over the web, they all require windows computers on the participant side

free software for experiments

DMDX closed source, windows only, text-based stimulus file, millisecond-precise

PXLAB open source, java based, for on- and offline use, seems to measure very precisely using System.nanoTime(), as document on the website. Has its own, text-based stimulus description. However, looks like not developed further because the main (and sole?) developer, Hans Irtel, died in 2008.

WEBEXP open source, java based, includes server, new xml-based format for stimuli, uses System.currentTimeMillis() instead of System.nanoTime(), and may thus be less precise than PXLAB

AFFECT closed source, windows only, graphical interface. does not allow direct editing of the script in text format?

FLXLAB C++ for windows and mac, open source

PEBL C++ for windows and linux, open source, has its own text format

It is a big mess that all these projects use totally incompatible stimulus files. Furthermore, I believe it is a dead end to keep developing these new formats that all end up being miniature crippled programming languages. Why not use an easy-to-learn language and make it accessible for the programmers? That is what worked perfectly for social psychologists who program their eperiments in authorware. Authorware was easy enough for your typical psychology phd student, and a lot of material was available to be re-used. Unfortunately, it is not being developed further.