Building Experiments in PsychoPy

Building Experiments in PsychoPy

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PsychoPy is an open-source (free) software package for creating rich, dynamic experiments in psychology, neuroscience and linguistics. It provides an intuitive graphical interface (the "Builder") as well as the option to insert Python code. This combination makes it easy enough for teaching, but also flexible enough for all manner of behavioural experiments. As a result, PsychoPy has become the software package of choice in psychology departments at universities all over the world.

Divided into three parts and with unique learning features to guide readers at whatever level they are at, this textbook is suitable for teaching practical undergraduate classes on research methods, or as a reference text for the professional scientist.

The book is written by Jonathan Peirce, the original creator of PsychoPy and Michael MacAskill who have utilised their breadth of experience in Python development to educate students and researchers in this intuitive, yet powerful, experiment generation package.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 312 pages
  • 170 x 242 x 15.24mm | 540g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1473991390
  • 9781473991392
  • 550,594

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Introduction
Section 1: For the beginner
Chapter 2: Building your first experiment
Chapter 3: Using images - a study into face perception
Chapter 4: Timing and brief stimuli: Posner cueing
Chapter 5: Creating dynamic stimuli (revealing text and moving stimuli)
Chapter 6: Providing feedback: simple Code Components
Chapter 7: Ratings: Measure the Big 5 personality constructs
Chapter 8: Randomization, blocks and counterbalancing: a bilingual
Chapter 9: Using the mouse for input: creating a visual search task li
Section 2: For the professional
Chapter 10: Implementing research designs with randomization
Chapter 11: Coordinates and color spaces
Chapter 12: Understanding your computer timing issues
Chapter 13: Monitors and Monitor Center
Chapter 14: Debugging Your Experiment
Chapter 15: Pro-tips, tricks, and lesser-known features
Section 3: For the specialist
Chapter 16: Psychophysics, stimuli and staircases
Chapter 17: Building an fMRI study
Chapter 18: Building an EEG study
Chapter 19: Add eye-tracking to your experiment
A: Mathematics refresher
B: Exercise solutions
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Review quote

This book fills an incredibly important gap in the field. Many users of PsychoPy will be excited to learn that there is now a highly accessible and well-designed written guide to refine their skills. No more tinkering with the templates of other people's scripts (unless you want to, of course). The book provides clear instructions on how to build computerized experiments from scratch to the exact specifications you want.

Having previously taught PsychoPy to university students, I am also convinced that the book will soon turn into one of their most cherished learning companions. In particular, its dedicated 'Warning' sections provide extremely handy reminders what to look out for when a script does not seem to do what it was meant to do. In fact, within 30 min of reading the book, I spotted a problem I currently had with one of my own scripts (the typical 'duh!' moment).

Equally handy are the book's chapters that outline how to make PsychoPy 'speak' to external devices, ranging from eye-trackers to fMRI scanners. They provide invaluable information about all the nitty-gritty details that should be considered under such circumstances. In consequence, the book really helps with handling any unnecessary panic that can set in when setting up a new experiment.

The only thing that can be criticized about this book is that it was not published any earlier. I am a bit envious of the generations of new users that can simply look up 'loop ordering options' or 'non-slip timing'. -- Susanne Quadflieg, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology, Including a variety of real-word examples and step-by-step screenshots for beginners with further sections for professionals, this a resource essential reading for anyone wanting to use it for serious research. -- John Allen An essential read for anyone starting out creating computer-based experiments using PsychoPy. As an open source project, PsychoPy has evolved far beyond its original purpose, to the point where it can now interact with a variety of different hardware devices (e.g., eye-trackers, button boxes) and produce online web-based experiments. So, the time is ripe for a manual that gently guides the reader through from beginner to professional and ultimately to discovering the specialist applications of PsychoPy. -- Jonathan Brooks Python is quickly becoming the programming language of choice in psychology and one very useful toolbox for designing and implementing experiments is PsychoPy. The PsychoPy Builder, in combination with this book, provides a smooth transition into the fine art of writing experiment code. This book is written by vision scientists, and it shows. -- Tom Verguts This friendly and comprehensive book should be required reading for any student planning a psychology/neuroscience experiment. It provides a friendly introduction for the non-programmer as well as a handy reference guide for the more advanced user. Your students will thank you for recommending it. Make sure that your library has it in stock. -- Dr Joseph L Brooks
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About Jonathan Peirce

Jonathan Peirce is Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Nottingham, with a background in visual neuroscience and a particular interest in research methods. For his research, Jon needed precise (and dynamic) stimulus presentations. For teaching psychology undergraduates about research methods, he needed software that was intuitive enough for them to understand. The combination of these needs (and his generally geekiness) caused Jon gradually to create PsychoPy. Happily, many people have got on board with the project and it grew.

When he isn't designing experiments, writing software or trying to teach students to be awesome scientists, Jon can be found walking his dog, playing with his daughter or making unpleasant noises on a guitar.

Michael MacAskill is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Medicine at the University of Otago, Christchurch. He is also the Research Director at the New Zealand Brain Research Institute. His training is in experimental psychology and his research is mainly in the field of Parkinson's disease, through projects in brain imaging, neuropsychology, and epidemiology.
His main joy, however, lies in measuring fast eye movements (saccades).Looking for better ways to study them, in 2008 he discovered what Jon had achieved with PsychoPy, and has since become a passionate believer in the enabling power of open-source software.
Living in a geologically active area, Michael recently decided to move from a house perched on a cliff in a volcano to one situated in a very large lawn. In the weekends, he can be found mowing that lawn.
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