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Building Experiments in PsychoPy

Building Experiments in PsychoPy

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May 2018 | 312 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

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.

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

This book offers a great start into building your own experiments. The examples and hands-on exercises (with increasing difficulty) facilitate the learning process and the book furthermore offers an outlook and tips on more complicated topics. So it’s not only useful for the first programming steps but also in later stages of experimental design. The book is continuously written for novices in programming, which makes the start of programming less frustrating. I also like the additional tips on how to calibrate the hardware/equipment so that an optimal communication between software and hardware is obtained.

Dr Katharina Limbach
Psychology, Technical University of Dortmund
March 22, 2019

Excellent book. Within the course, there are four specializations (one for experimental design). I will use it within that specialization.

Dr Sebastian Jentschke
Psychology, Bergen University
February 19, 2019

This is an outstanding book in that it introduces PsychoPy in a way that is comprehensible and accessible to students (and professionals) who do not have previous programming experience. It provides a structure that a student could follow, and it uses examples (Stroop task, personality construct measurement) that are simple and should be known by all students reaching the point where they take an experimental project-based course. Despite the wealth of information and tutorials available online for free, for an instructor, assigning chapters in a textbook in a stepwise fashion is still one of the most reliable ways of ensuring that the students follow a pedagogical plan and do not get distracted or drowned in a sea of what for many, especially in humanistic education programs, is outright scary material (programming).

Dr Nikita Kharlamov
Department of Communication & Psychology, Aalborg University
January 29, 2019

For those that are interested in an open source solution for building experiments, this book is a 'must have'. Very comprehensive in its content, this book provides a good starting point for beginners.
I can recommend this book to all students and professionals in the field of experimental psychology. Next to the book you will receive links on additional material to start working.

Dr Carsten Moeller
Institute of Communication and Media Research, DSH - German Sport University
November 15, 2018

This book is a esential reading for anyone wanting to use open-source software for experimental design in Psychology. It's written in a very comprehensive and readable style and includes step-by-step guides for designing real experiments for both beginners and professionals. If it would have been published years ago, I would have designed my experiments in PsychoPy! Highly recommended.

Dr Luis Morales
Psychology, Universidad Loyola Andalucía
June 4, 2018

This is a great book giving students an easy way to self program experiments. And even for me as a trained user of psychopy it offered some new interesting information. Great book, great program!

Dr Katrin Bittrich
Psychology, Medizinische Hochschule Brandenburg
April 16, 2018

It's a great book written in a great cause. In my opinion, students hate generating tasks in complex and unfriendly software packages - and need a great deal of workshop time and support in order to be able to do so. PsychoPy is the easiest package I have come across, and this book is a great - and approachable - introduction. It is the book I would have written if I had known anything about PsychoPy! (And I didn't). But with it, I have taken my own first steps to binning those horrible software packages of yesterday. Valuable for me, invaluable for those students needing to write their own computer tasks, and invaluable (again) for project supervisors with time to save.

Dr James Jackson
Psychology Department, Leeds Trinity University
April 8, 2018

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ISBN: 9781473991392

ISBN: 9781473991385