Psynteract: A flexible, cross-platform, open framework for interactive experiments
We introduce a novel platform for interactive studies, that is, any form of study in which participants’ experiences depend not only on their own responses, but also on those of other participants who complete the same study in parallel, for example a prisoner’s dilemma or an ultimatum game. The software thus especially serves the rapidly growing field of strategic interaction research within psychology and behavioral economics. In contrast to all available software packages, our platform does not handle stimulus display and response collection itself. Instead, we provide a mechanism to extend existing experimental software to incorporate interactive functionality. This approach allows us to draw upon the capabilities already available, such as accuracy of temporal measurement, integration with auxiliary hardware such as eye-trackers or (neuro-)physiological apparatus, and recent advances in experimental software, for example capturing response dynamics through mouse-tracking. Through integration with OpenSesame, an open-source graphical experiment builder, studies can be assembled via a drag-and-drop interface requiring little or no further programming skills. In addition, by using the same communication mechanism across software packages, we also enable interoperability between systems. Our source code, which provides support for all major operating systems and several popular experimental packages, can be freely used and distributed under an open source license. The communication protocols underlying its functionality are also well documented and easily adapted to further platforms. Code and documentation are available at https://github.com/psynteract/.
KeywordsStrategic interaction Economic games Social dilemmas Experimental design Software OpenSesame Python Process tracing
- Fielding, R., Gettys, J., Mogul, J., Frystyk, H., Masinter, L., Leach, P., & Berners-Lee, T. (1999). Hypertext transfer protocol – HTTP/1.1. RFC Editor.Google Scholar
- Janssen, M. A., Lee, A., & Waring, T. M. (2014). Experimental platforms for behavioral experiments on social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society, 19(4). doi:10.5751/ES-06895-190420.
- Kieslich, P. J., & Hilbig, B. E. (2014). Cognitive conflict in social dilemmas: An analysis of response dynamics. Judgment and Decision Making, 9(6), 510–522.Google Scholar
- Psychology Software Tools Inc (2012). E-Prime (Version 2.0). Retrieved from http://www.pstnet.com.
- Seithe, M., Morina, J., & Glöckner, A. (in press). Bonn eXperimental System (BoXS): An open source platform for interactive experiments in psychology and economics. Behavior Research Methods. doi:10.3758/s13428-015-0660-6.