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I've often used Inquisit to run psychological experiments online. The software enables delivery of stimuli (e.g., text, images, etc.) and collection of reaction times.

Obviously general purpose programming languages provide one avenue for delivery of online experiments. There's also a good listing of software for psychological experiments here. I've also seen PsyToolkit which is GNU licensed software for programming psychological experiments, but I'm not aware of any online option.

Are there any open source options for online delivery of psychological experiments, particularly ones that enable reaction time measurement?

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I'm curious about this too. I use Adobe Flash to write psychological experiments -- the opposite of open source! –  Andy DeSoto Feb 6 '12 at 22:27
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HTML5 is really capable and could be used to construct reaction time experiments. While I have no data on response registration latency, I can't imagine that it is that bad. A plus with using HTML is that you can run pilots (or studies) on Amazon Mechanical turk, which is a very convenient way of rallying participants. See for example: Buhrmester, M., Kwang, T., & Gosling, S. D. (2011). Amazon’s Mechanical Turk: A New Source of Inexpensive, Yet High-Quality, Data? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(1), 3-5. doi:10.1177/1745691610393980 –  Rasmus Bååth Feb 20 '12 at 8:43

5 Answers 5

I'm not sure if it can measure reaction times but Tatool, developed at the University of Zurich, is an open source experiment platform that can be run from the web:

http://www.tatool.ch/

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Limesurvey is worth checking out (more suitable for questionnaire style tasks, but very flexible and with some coding it should be possible to, eg. record RTs)

Wextor could be another possibility - it allows building more complicated designs, has not been developed for a bit, though...

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I would highly recommend looking at http://www.qualtrics.com/. You can take a look at free trial accounts and see how its easy to use interface is still extremely sophisticated – e.g. automatic option to record response time – and can be augmented with javascript when you want to.

I'm not sure of pricing because many universities often buy a site license. But Qualtrics has revolutionized the way we do experiments.

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Hi Joseph. Welcome to the site. It's great to have someone with your background and expertise involved on the site. I guess Qualtrics isn't open source. Is Qualtrics mainly for surveys or can you do experiments involving multimedia, reaction time, randomisation of stimuli, etc? –  Jeromy Anglim Apr 27 '12 at 13:10
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The questions clearly asks (in bold) for Open Source Options and Qualtrics is a commercial package. Also, although I don't think the builtin timing features will have the precision of psychology response time type experiments without writin gyour own Javscript. –  jacanterbury Jun 5 at 14:27

WebExp is a free framework for developing web-based experiments, and the source code is freely available. The client side is a Java applet, so subjects must have Java installed on their computers. Perhaps this causes fewer drop-outs than having to install the executable generated by Inquisit Web. This paper discusses the timing accuracy of WebExp-based experiments.

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from a quick look at their website it doesn't look like this product has been worked on since 2009 :( –  jacanterbury Jun 5 at 14:33

For an open source JavaScript/HTML/CSS solution, check out jsPsych: http://www.jspsych.org. It can be used for reaction time measurement and interactive designs. An article describing the library was recently published in Behavior Research Methods.

de Leeuw, J. R. (2014). jsPsych: A JavaScript library for creating behavioral experiments in a Web browser. Behavior research methods, 1-12.

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thanks - this look really promising and also very current - last update on github github.com/jodeleeuw/jsPsych was only 2 weeks ago –  jacanterbury Jun 5 at 14:36

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