Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Chronos Review Part 2: Tutorial

The fun, inspiring scientist and his serious, literary brother.
In the previous instalment of this review, I channeled the tech reviewer spirit (e.g. The Verge) whilst writing a lighthearted review of the Chronos, PST's new, USB-powered response box. I will fully admit that I do not believe that the serious scientific stoicism that supposedly graced our scholarly ancestors is necessarily a pedagogically sound strategy, but I apologise if I over-corrected here and there. Rest assured, in the following 3000 words or so, I will provide much more useful information by ways of a Chronos tutorial. I will first shortly explain the theoretical background of an experimental paradigm we call action-effect learning. Following, I will give a The E-Primer style step by step instruction on how to make the experiment, for example using Chronos. I will consistently expect the reader to already know The E-Primer by heart and will therefore not need much information on the E-Prime structure, code, attributes, and so on. Instead, the aim is that someone who is more or less versed in the ways of E-Prime will, by the end of the tutorial, be able to use the Chronos:

•    As a low latency audio device
•    As a response ("button") box
•    As a voice volume level triggering device
•    As a stimulus device (using its five multicoloured LEDs)

By that time, you will also notice my newly recovered seriousness seriously faltering, as I end the whole ordeal by ending the reviewer in classic tech style: with a conclusion featuring "grades".

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Chronos Review Part 1: General overview

Saturn (image from Wikipedia) was not responsible.
In today’s long awaited next instalment of the E-Primer blog, I’ll be demonstrating some of the fun capabilities of the Serial Response Box 2: the Chronos. No, not that Saturn guy with the big appetite, but he who split the world apart to form the earth, sea and sky. Plutarch failed to mention, however, that you can now acquire such superpowers from Psychology Software Tools and unleash some seriously time-shattering accuracy on your psychology experiments.

Anyway, in this review, I will discuss:

•    How to add the Cronos to your experiment;
•    How to light up the lab using its LEDs and
•    How to add the voicekey.

I'm also presenting an unboxing video and showing off my virtuoso Windows Critical Stop Piano skills. Next week (I can confidently state as I already wrote this part), I provide a Chronos walk-through featuring a pretty nice and theoretically sound experiment as a tutorial.

Let’s go!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

E-Prime vs Surface Pro 4: High PPI woes

A little while ago, I (Michiel) promised a review of E-Prime on the new Surface Pro 4 (SP4). The idea is this: given that these machines are developed by the same company (i.e. Microsoft), they should all work in rather similar ways, so that, for once, we have that rare thing in the non-Mac community: a common experience. Apart from the convenience in terms of transferable user experience or bug reporting, this has obvious benefits for experimental design and replicability in particular. Furthermore, PST did extensive testing with the SP3, and I hope they keep that up, creating a kind of optimal experimental experience with a single device having known benefits and drawbacks. Finally, being into motor control and perception-action integration research, I am obviously keen on using the touch and pen in experiments.

So, full of good cheer, I started with E-Prime (2.0.10.356) running on Windows 10 build 10586 and quickly ran into problems.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

New Year - New Prime

Flexible RT pad
Happy new year! And with a new year, how about a new E-Prime? While that is of course up to the developers, strategists and other folks over at Psychology Software Tools, we can always hope. In the meantime, I - Michiel blogging here - can do at least a bit in renewing E-PrimeR with the tools currently available. Specifically, I came up with the belated new year's resolution of starting to actively maintain this very blog. It's a bit of work, I suppose, and I'm sure sooner or later I'll forget about it again, but on the bright side: as a resolution, it clearly beats doing something about my bad habits!

As a scientist, I like to predict what should happen before the data are actually collected. In the present blog post, I will describe some of the  forthcoming articles so you have something to look forward to in 2016.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Special keys in E-Prime

E-Prime allows to use so-called special keys to define allowable and correct responses in E-Objects. Did you know that you can use almost all keys on your keyboard? Information about special keys is quite difficult to find, because it is hidden in E-Prime's help file. We hope that publishing this blog will help to find it quickly on the internet too.

If you look for {KEY} in the E-Basic Help (not to be confused with the E-Studio help, see the Help menu) you will get an overview of all possible keys. Please find a copy of this {KEY} entry below.


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Lost in E-Prime?

There are a few excellent sources out there for getting help with your experiment. Apart from the book, which you of course already own, there's the regular E-Prime manual and getting started guide (both included with the E-Prime package). Especially if you already have a precise idea on the specific paradigm you plan on using, the System for Teaching Experimental Psychology (STEP) may provide valuable insights and solid starting points. Once you're stuck with a more specific issue, have a technical question, or are in any other need of support with your E-Prime experiment, E-Prime's developer PST provide brilliant support themselves. If your issue is of a more theoretical nature, or you just prefer crowd-sourcing solutions from academics, you could also post your questions to the E-Prime forum or mailinglist. The latter is maintained by a group of volunteers and remains, at the point of writing, remarkably active for such a prehistoric social network!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Important changes in E-Prime version 2.0.10.x

The E-Prime Production Release version 2.0.10.x introduced several useful features that were not available in E-Prime version 2.0.8.x. However, we recently discovered that some existing features (or their settings) have significantly changed since we published the E-primer. We will list those here below. In case you have decided to update E-Prime to version 2.0.10.x please read PST's documentation about this first. Please do not skip the issues we raise here: you will surely encounter some difficulties as soon as you start designing new or adapting existing experiments in version E-Prime 2.0.10.x (see here in case you upgrade an old experiment to an E-Prime 2.0.10.x file). Furthermore, when running experiments described in The E-Primer, you need to solve some of the issues described here. We are currently working on an addendum to our book that describes these changes. In the meantime, you can use the summary of the most important troubleshooting.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Tutorial: Validating Videos of Facial Affect



Today, I made a little experiment to validate videos of facial effect. Your institute probably has the Ekman faces CDROM, right? If you do, you can verify it has over a hundred pictures of very retro looking faces of people including Paul Ekman himself (if younger), enacting six different emotions – happy, angry, sad, disgusted, surprised, fearful – and a neutral baseline (sometimes). You could argue that enough is enough, these pictures are too old, or perhaps that emotions in the wild are rarely statically displayed. My reason was less obvious: for a project on the affective and cognitive effects of touch, somehow we ended up with this giant construct of a study which includes a bar in virtual reality, where one meets a 3D model displaying some emotion, then touches the participant, whose EEG we measure. I promise you it honestly makes sense and is great fun to do, but in the mean time, it’s clear that we need to validate animated (as opposed to static) faces to know in advance that the emotions are recognized consistently.

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