Behavioral Software Laboratory--from Pearl to E-prime

Period of Performance: 09/01/1999 - 02/28/2001


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Psychology Software Tools, Inc.
Sharpsburg, PA 15215
Principal Investigator


The laboratory microcomputer has become a crucial tool for building and conducting behavioral studies. As operating systems become increasingly complex, students and researchers find that they must devote hundreds of hours to program new experiments from the ground up. We propose to develop a powerful new environment which runs on the two major computer platforms used in behavioral research (Intel/Windows and Macintosh), and which will allow behavioral researchers to build, conduct and analyze the results from experiments in an extensible, interactive graphical environment, requiring little or no programming skills. This new lingua franca will include: (1) a graphical design environment based on a factor table, (2) user-accessible Visual Basic scripting code, (3) a multi-threaded real-time engine, (4) a Programmer's Tool kit for building plug-in extensions, and (5) a data analysis translation system. This project involves the synthesis of the three systems currently in widest use in behavioral research, MEL, and PsyScope. It will have a rapid and widespread impact on the estimated 7000 users of the current systems and is expected to emerge as a universally accepted tool for behavioral research. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: Commercial behavioral research experiment generator software is in use in universities, commercial laboratories, and hospitals for research and assessment in psychology, sociology, education, human factors, medical evaluation, and business decision making. It is used for basic research and applied research in rowing markets in human assessment, monitoring drug effects, human factors design, personnel and medical assessment, advertising, and communication effectiveness.