|Welcome to the PsyScope X Info Page|
PsyScope is a program to design and run psychological experiments, used by many experimental labs. It runs on Apple Macintosh computers. It has been developed at Carnegie Mellon by Jonathan Cohen, Matthew Flatt, Brian MacWhinney and Jefferson Provost for Mac OS 9 in the '90s. Thanks to its creators, its code has been made public, under the GNU GPL license. It has been ported to OS X thanks to a collective effort to which several labs kindly contributed. It is now being developed by the SISSA Language, Cognition and Development Lab at Sissa, the RICO group at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and many volunteers.
The current version of PsyScope X is an universal program. It runs natively on Intel processors, where it runs I would say pretty well, as well as on on PowerPc machines, where it runs I would say reasonably well -- anyhow, better than most of the other commercial programs I know of. Furthermore, Psyscope X can allow you to have a control on several kinds of stimuli (movies, sounds) that other commercial programs running on other platforms cannot give you.
Documentation is available on this page, if you have the patience to look for it (sorry, I am not strong in html, nor in organizing things). There is also a user list, to which you can subscribe, or where you can consult an archive for problems or issues.
You can download the latest public version here.
The Regione Friuli-Venezia-Giulia awarded our Lab a grant to develop the code. The grant is a one-year project renewable up to 3 years, upon successful completion of the milestones we set as targets. The grant should be enough to support some good programmers.
Thanks to this support, we decided to give a try to a rather ambitious project. Our main aim now is to provide a reasonably stable version of PsyScope X for the next 3 years, but especially, to rewrite the code entirely, creating a brand new version of the program.
The project is advancing, although slowly, because of a terrible series of administrative constraints imposed by new laws in Italy. I still haven't lost hope that something good will come out of it. The Main Programmer is the excellent Luca Filippin, who did a lot of work on many part of the code (movies, sound, USB Button box, EGI extension, Eye Tracker extension, Unix integration, TCP-IP communication, text, and general improvements).
We are now interested in expert programmers who may want to collaborate to the project. If you think you can make a contribution, send us a message.
Provisionally, the new project is called PsyScope XL, for PsyScope X running on Leopard (no previous systems will be supported), but also for PsyScope Extra Large, which describes our current ambitions. We hope to write the best existing code, to release as a GPL project. My hope is that, once the project starts, people in the community will pick it up and start adding their own contributions, as in any healthy open source project. If think you ARE SERIOUSLY MOTIVATED IN FOLLOWING THE PROJECT and can provide insights from the scientists point of view, or are technically savvy and want to give us good tips and suggestions during the course of the project, LET ME KNOW.
Most likely, PsyScope XL will be quite a different program from PsyScope X, for technical considerations tied to the Cocoa environment and the programming tools available under Os X. But I hope everybody will find him/herself at ease with it, and so ideas and contributions are most welcome, with no promise that they will be implemented :-)
(May 2010) PsyScope X Build 57 is available. This version has been compiled with Xcode 3 and tested mostly on Snow Leopard. It should work on Tiger as well just fine, but there may be differences. We do not support Panther any longer. You can download the program by clicking here. You can go directly to download, but you can also indicate whether you want to be kept informed about further developments of our project, whether you volunteer for beta testing further versions, or, if you feel inclined and able to do so, whether you want to contribute with some programming time to the project. Make sure you read the doc for the new features (mainly contained in the Docs & Tips section) and check the scripts exemplifying them (mostly contained in the Other Stuff section).
You can also download the code, in the form of a Xcode 3 project, by using Svn (which is installed by default under Leopard). The code should compile under Snow Leopard, Leopard and Tiger. Follow these directions to download and compile.
Due to not so popular request but still request, I am also making some old builds available. By clicking on the links, you can download Build 41, Build 45, Build 46, Build 51, and Build 53.
With B57 you can now pass and receive commands from the Unix core. You can start the program directly from the terminal, and you can even use shell scripts to start a sequence of experiments. Documentation here.
So in principle, with this extension, you can do anything that you cannot already to with PsyScope X. For example, you can start recording a file, run a perl script that generates a novel list of stimuli for the next PsyScope X experiment you want to run, and so on.
Needless to say, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to fully understand what you do when you send and receive Unix commands. If you are an adnistrator, you can do serious damage to your data if you do not master the commands you are using, just as if you were using the terminal directly. I advise you to check the scripts for the presence of unix commands (just look for 'syscmd' in the script) before running them.
The mouse commands have been improved and enriched. Documentation here.
In Build 57 a module handling TCP/IP communication has been added, so that you will now be able to run interactive experiments with several computers running PsyScope X.
To comply with how Snow Leopard handles old properties such as "Type" and "Creator", we had to introduce extensions and proper file definitions for PsyScope X scripts, data files, projects and log files. Thus, the first time you run it, the program will ask you to convert the PsyScope old scripts into the new types. If you do it, the files remain text files that can be opened and modified with a text application, but the old versions of the program will not be able to open the new files unless you save them as plain text files with a text editor (such as BBedit). If you don't like this, blame Apple.
Other commands for movies, mouse, key sequences, and finer controls have been improved. The expression parser has been modified and should be more liberal and reliable (notes about how the expression parser works are contained in this pdf document). The Egi Netstation module (for experiments with ERPs) has been greatly improved. Scores of documented and undocumented bugs have been closed.
Thank you for your visit.
ICREA @ Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain and
International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA/ISAS), Trieste, Italy
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