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PsyScope: An interactive graphic system for designing and controlling experiments in the psychology laboratory using Macintosh computers


PsyScope is an integrated environment for designing and running psychology experiments on Macintosh computers. The primary goal of PsyScope is to give both psychology students and trained researchers a tool that allows them to design experiments without the need for programming. PsyScope relies on the interactive graphic environment provided by Macintosh computers to accomplish this goal. The standard components of a psychology experiment—groups, blocks, trials, and factors—are all represented graphically, and experiments are constructed by working with these elements in interactive windows and dialogs. In this article, we describe the overall organization of the program, provide an example of how a simple experiment can be constructed within its graphic environment, and discuss some of its technical features (such as its underlying scripting language, timing characteristics, etc.). PsyScope is available for noncommercial purposes free of charge and unsupported to the general research community. Information about how to obtain the program and its documentation is provided.


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Correspondence to Jonathan Cohen or Brian MacWhinney.

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PsyScope was conceived and designed by Jonathan Cohen and Brian MacWhinney and implemented by Matthew Flatt and Jefferson Provost. Contributions to its development were also made by Jay Gowdy, Eric Sedlar, Darius Clynes, Eric Selberg, and Robert Findler. Support for its development was provided by NIMH grants (MH 00673 and MH 47073) to the first author, an NTH grant (HD 17790) to the second author, and a FIPSE grant (P116B2) to both the first and second authors. In addition, support was provided by the laboratories of Elizabeth Bates, Maggie Brack, Cathy Harris, Mark Johnson, Jay McClelland, Mark Seidenberg, and Jonathan Vaughan, who together have formed the PsyScope Development Consortium.

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Cohen, J., MacWhinney, B., Flatt, M. et al. PsyScope: An interactive graphic system for designing and controlling experiments in the psychology laboratory using Macintosh computers. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers 25, 257–271 (1993).

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  • Stimulus Event
  • Macintosh Computer
  • Script Language
  • Factor Table
  • Graphic Element