20 Oct 2019

Have a computer? Program an experiment

A minimal setup to run human experiments in a computer environment.


As a kid, I created my first (and never-hosted) website using MS FrontPage. I loved KOF 1997. Many years later, I had the opportunity to print out my first “Hello, world!” using a Python IDE.

However, many undergrads have never interfaced with a command-line interface, and even less have had the opportunity to learn programming. So, it was not surprising to find out some of my students did not know how to implement their laboratory experiments.

You only need a computer, and a knack for programming

Inspired by the setup we have in our laboratory, I put together a minimal-setup script using Octave and Psychtoolbox, so they could program their experiments. One of the student groups had to run a follow-up experiment on spatial biases, and we came up with a fairly good script. Check it out here!

The follow-up was successful, by the way. It turns out you can extinguish spatial biases, if you try.