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Building Experiments in PsychoPy

Building Experiments in PsychoPy

Second Edition
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January 2022 | 312 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

PsychoPy is an open-source software package for creating rich, dynamic experiments in psychology, neuroscience and linguistics. Written by its creator, this book walks you through the steps of building experiments in PsychoPy, from using images to discovering lesser-known features, and from analysing data to debugging your experiment.

Divided into three parts and with unique extension exercises to guide you at whatever level you are at, this textbook is the perfect tool for teaching practical undergraduate classes on research methods, as well as acting as a comprehensive reference text for the professional scientist.

Essential reading for anyone using PsychoPy software, the second edition has been fully updated and includes multiple new chapters about features included in recent versions of PsychoPy, including running studies online and collecting survey data.

Part I teaches you all the basic skills you need (and some more advanced tips along the way) to design experiments in behavioral sciences. Each chapter introduces anew concept but will offer a series of working experiments that you can build on.

Part II presents more details important for professional scientists intending to use PsychoPy for published research. This part is recommended reading for science professionals in any discipline.

Part III covers a range of specialist topics, such as those doing fMRI research, or those studying visual perception.

“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.” – Susanne Quadflieg, University of Bristol

Chapter 1: Introduction
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: Running studies online
Chapter 6: Creating dynamic stimuli (revealing text and moving stimuli)
Chapter 7: Providing feedback: Simple code components
Chapter 8: Collecting survey data using forms
Chapter 9: Using sliders
Chapter 10: Randomizing and counterbalancing blocks of trials: A bilingual Stroop task
Chapter 11: Using the mouse for input: Creating a visual search task
Chapter 12: Implementing research designs with randomization
Chapter 13: Coordinates and color spaces
Chapter 14: Understanding your computer timing issues
Chapter 15: Monitors and monitor center
Chapter 16: Debugging your experiment
Chapter 17: Pro tips, tricks, and lesser-known features
Chapter 18: Psychophysics, stimuli and staircases
Chapter 19: Building an FMRI study
Chapter 20: Building an EEG study
Chapter 21: Add eye tracking to your experiment


Find the Online Resources

The 2020 pandemic has forced a lot of researchers to move their physical lab experiments online. If you are already doing this, or thinking about it, the second edition of "Building Experiments in PsychoPy" is a must have. The new edition offers sage advice on online data collection and provides a walkthrough on how to use some of its new components (e.g., creating surveys via Forms. ).

Jason Geller
Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science

In ye olden days when I was a student, we had to script our experiments, which was tedious and error-prone, or use proprietary software, which was expensive and inflexible. This is why I love PsychoPy Builder, and Building Experiments in PsychoPy is a great resource for today‘s budding experimenters.

Heiða María Sigurðardóttir
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Iceland

The definitive guide to getting started with PsychoPy.

Dr Jonathan Brooks
Psychology, University of East Anglia
January 24, 2024

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... More About Author

Rebecca Hirst

Michael MacAskill

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... More About Author

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