Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 416–428 | Cite as

Expyriment: A Python library for cognitive and neuroscientific experiments

  • Florian KrauseEmail author
  • Oliver Lindemann


Expyriment is an open-source and platform-independent lightweight Python library for designing and conducting timing-critical behavioral and neuroimaging experiments. The major goal is to provide a well-structured Python library for script-based experiment development, with a high priority being the readability of the resulting program code. Expyriment has been tested extensively under Linux and Windows and is an all-in-one solution, as it handles stimulus presentation, the recording of input/output events, communication with other devices, and the collection and preprocessing of data. Furthermore, it offers a hierarchical design structure, which allows for an intuitive transition from the experimental design to a running program. It is therefore also suited for students, as well as for experimental psychologists and neuroscientists with little programming experience.


Software Programming library Python Experimental design Stimulus presentation 



We thank Pascal de Water for great technical support, Sebastiaan Mathôt for his code evaluation and for choosing Expyriment as the default back end of OpenSesame 0.27, as well as dozens of students and colleagues for using old preliminary versions of Expyriment for their studies. Without their feedback, Exypriment would not have reached the level of a stable and reliable experiment programming library.


  1. Bassi, S. (2007). A primer on Python for life science researchers. PLoS Computational Biology, 3, e199.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brainard, D. H. (1997). The Psychophysics Toolbox. Spatial Vision, 10, 433–436. doi: 10.1163/156856897X00357 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Free Software Foundation. (2007). GNU General Public Licence. Retrieved from
  4. Halchenko, Y. O., & Hanke, M. (2012). Open is not enough. Let’s take the next step: An integrated, community-driven computing platform for neuroscience. Frontiers in Neuroinformatics, 6, 22. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2012.00022 PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hanke, M., & Halchenko, Y. O. (2011). Neuroscience runs on GNU/Linux. Frontiers in Neuroinformatics, 5, 8. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2011.00008 PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hommel, B. (1993). Inverting the Simon effect by intention: Determinants of direction and extent of effects of irrelevant spatial information. Psychological Research, 55, 270–279. doi: 10.1007/BF00419687 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Jones, E., Oliphant, T. E., Peterson, P., et al. (2001). SciPy: Open source scientific tools for Python [Computer software]. Retrieved from
  8. Mathôt, S., Schreij, D., & Theeuwes, J. (2012). OpenSesame: An open-source, graphical experiment builder for the social sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 44, 314–324. doi: 10.3758/s13428-011-0168-7 PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Oliphant, T. E. (2006). Guide to NumPy. Trelgol Publishing.Google Scholar
  10. Peirce, J. W. (2007). PsychoPy: Psychophysics software in Python. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 162, 8–13.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. PyOpenGL. (2012). [Computer software]. Retrieved from
  12. PySerial. (2012). [Computer software]. Retrieved from
  13. R Development Core Team. (2012). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Retrieved from Google Scholar
  14. Shinners, P. (2012). Pygame [Computer software]. Retrieved from
  15. Stahl, C. (2006). Software for generating psychological experiments. Experimental Psychology, 53, 218–232.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Straw, A. D. (2008). Vision Egg: An open-source library for realtime visual stimulus generation. Frontiers in Neuroinformatics, 2(4), 1–10. doi: 10.3389/neuro.11.004.2008 Google Scholar
  17. Van Rossum, G., & Drake, F. L. (2011). Python language reference manual. Bristol, UK: Network Theory Ltd.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and BehaviourRadboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Division of Cognitive ScienceUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  3. 3.NijmegenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations