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Express: a web-based technology to support human and computational experimentation

By P. Yule and Richard P. Cooper

Abstract

Experimental cognitive psychology has been greatly assisted by the development of general computer-based experiment presentation packages. Typically, however, such packages provide little support for running participants on different computers. It is left to the experimenter to ensure that group sizes are balanced between conditions and to merge data gathered on different computers once the experiment is complete. Equivalent issues arise in the evaluation of parameterized computational models, where it is frequently necessary to test a model's behavior over a range of parameter values (which amount to between-subjects factors) and where such testing can be speeded up significantly by the use of multiple processors. This article describes Express, a Web-based technology for coordinating "clients" (human participants or computational models) and collating client data. The technology provides an experiment design editor, client coordination facilities (e.g., automated randomized assignment of clients to groups so that group sizes are balanced), general data collation and tabulation facilities, a range of basic statistical functions (which are constrained by the specified experimental design), and facilities to export data to standard statistical packages (such as SPSS). We report case studies demonstrating the utility of Express in both human and computational experiments. Express may be freely downloaded from the Express Web site (http://express.psyc.bbk.ac.uk/)

Topics: psyc
Publisher: Psychonomic Society Publications
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.bbk.ac.uk.oai2:557

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