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Open Sesame

“Building your own experiment with Opensesame"

In psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, psychology and other social sciences experimental data is used to find evidence (or counter evidence) for all kinds of research questions. But getting good data is not as easy as it sounds. You will (mostly) need a special software that enables you to present experimental stimuli for that.

Opensesame is such a stimulus presentation software. It allows you to build your own social psychology experiments using pictures, text, video or audio as stimuli. With the right choice of hardware it allows you to present stimuli in millisecond precision, collect the responses of your participants with accurate time stamps, communicate with other devices such as EEG recording software (brain waves), fMRI scanners (brain oxygen level) or eye trackers (eye movements). Moreover, you can create questionnaires with it and give feedback to your participants. Opensesame has a lively and friendly user community.

While other similar software costs up to thousands of dollars, opensesame is free and open source. It runs on Windows, Linux, (to some extend) Macs and Android (yes, you can run it on an Android tablet).

In this workshop I will introduce opensesame, talk a little bit about millisecond timing and why it is so important for psychological experiments and we will build a very simple experiment together. You will learn:

a) how to program an experiment just by using the graphical point and click user interface of opensesame.

b) a little bit about how computers (really) work and how you have to tell them to do what you want them to do (algorithms).

As our time is limited, I want all workshop participants to download install opensesame beforehand and bring your laptop with you. Please make also sure that you have internet access via airuc or eduroam.

If you encounter any problems with the installation process, feel free to come by or send me an email.

The links for downloading opensesame can be found here: <>

Please choose the one appropriate for your operating system.


Looking forward to see you at the workshop!

Johannes Knaus