April 05, 2010

Tools for experiments

Psychology experiments are increasingly online. The work of Parcducci - a central focus of my work - has an online application. Several decision making tasks are also online.

Online experiments have several benifits and problems. Major benifits are easy access from anywhere in the world and data storage in one location. For example, students in china may take part in an experiment with the experimenter in England having immediate access to the data. What economists call 'the economies of scale' can have a serious impact on the validity of the findings by producing greater generalisation. However, this approach is problematic - we cannot control the enviroment and data flow.

We can solve these issues. How might we increase the amount of enviromental control or the provide a more powerful framework for experiments? Only by teamwork. Yet few people examine this. Why, when a tool (for example rcommander) can provide so much benifit for so many?

Just a thought. We need to pool resources. Unlike our predecessors, we live in an age where great tools can be replicated at no cost. The economics of scale can allow us to reap large harvests for minimal comparative input.

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