PsychoPy with Jonathan Peirce - Episode 76


We’re delving into the complex workings of your mind this week on Podcast.init with Jonathan Peirce. He tells us about how he started the PsychoPy project and how it has grown in utility and popularity over the years. We discussed the ways that it has been put to use in myriad psychological experiments, the inner workings of how to design and execute those experiments, and what is in store for its future.

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Brief Introduction

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  • Your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we’re interviewing Jonathan Peirce about PsychoPy, an open source application for the presentation and collection of stimuli for psychological experimentation

Interview with Jonathan Peirce

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python? – Chris
  • Can you start by telling us what PsychoPy is and how the project got started? – Tobias
  • How does PsychoPy compare feature wise against some of the proprietary alternatives? – Chris
  • In the documentation you mention that this project is useful for the fields of psychophysics, cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology. Can you provide some insight into how those disciplines differ and what constitutes an experiment? – Tobias
  • Do you find that your users who have no previous formal programming training come up to speed with PsychoPy quickly? What are some of the challenges there? -Chris
  • Can you describe the internal architecture of PsychoPy and how you approached the design? – Tobias
  • How easy is it to extend PsychoPy with new types of stimulus? – Chris
  • What are some interesting challenges you faced when implementing PsychoPy? – Chris
  • I noticed that you support a number of output data formats, including pickle. What are some of the most popular analysis tools for users of PsychoPy? – Tobias
    • Have you investigated the use of the new Feather library? – Tobias
  • How is data input typically managed? Does PsychoPy support automated readings from test equipment or is that the responsibility of those conducting the experiment? – Tobias
  • What are some of the most interesting experiments that you are aware of having been conducted using PsychoPy? – Chris
  • While reading the docs I found the page describing the integration with the OSF (Open Science Framework) for sharing and validating an experiment and the collected data with other members of the field. Can you explain why that is beneficial to the researchers and compare it with other options such as GitHub for use within the sciences? – Tobias
  • Do you have a roadmap of features that you would like to add to PsychoPy or is it largely driven by contributions from practitioners who are extending it to suit their needs? – Tobias

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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

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