OpenSesame: The Experiment Building Software

A comprehensive course on building and developing customised experiments!
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  • Lectures 41
  • Length 4.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 12/2015 English

Course Description

Through this course, students will learn how to use OpenSesame, an open source, experiment building software for the social sciences. OpenSesame allows you to easily create experiments, using a graphical interface, as well as add audiovisual elements to develop more complex experiments. OpenSesame also enables you to run multiple trials of your experiments with minimum effort and it also helps to manage and record data. This course aims at teaching students how to operate this useful software. Enrolled students can expect to gain a comprehensive understanding of the various features and functions of this software, such as adding audiovisual stimuli and incorporating feedback given to participants, as well as an opportunity to create an experiment, using these different elements. This course will take ? hours to complete, (including one contact hour with the course instructor after completion of the workshop.)? The course is divided into ? broad sections, which include ? lectures and ? quizzes. An understanding of this software is important because OpenSesame is applicable to varied disciplines and is indispensible to experiment designing for a contemporary researcher. OpenSesame also makes the process of conducting experiments easier because it allows the calculation of accurate reaction times and other dependant variables as well as automatically saves and arranges data in the form of easy-to-view tables for each trial. Moreover, the comprehensive nature of this course ensures that its participants will not only be able to understand, but also apply the course content. Therefore, by taking this course, students and professionals will be armed with a powerful research tool.

(For those studying at the University of Mumbai and or its affiliated colleges (Mithibai and National College), knowledge of OpenSesame is mandatory for the MA Psychology course at these institutes.)

What are the requirements?

  • A computer or laptop with OpenSesame version 2.8 installed and running. OpenSesame is an open source software and a version compatible with Windows, OS X, Ubuntu or Linux can be downloaded from the following link:

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Easily build experiments for research in the social sciences using a graphical interface
  • Easily add audiovisual stimuli to create complex experiments
  • Create a wide variety of experiments ranging from reaction time tasks to questionnaires
  • Run multiple trials for your experiment with ease
  • Incorporate feedback into your experiment to provide your participants with information about various aspects of their performance in a given task
  • Understand and use the OpenSesame script to build and edit your experiment
  • Comprehensively record and manage data from the experiments you have created and conducted

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is meant for Undergraduate students, Postgraduate students, PhD students and Professionals pursuing research in the Social Sciences (Economics, Psychology and/or Sociology).
  • Students and Professionals from any academic discipline with a keen interest in research and experiment design are welcome to attend. A basic understanding of research methodology is recommended.

What you get with this course?

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Section 1: Installation and Overview of What OpenSesame Can Do

In this lecture, we will explain how you must set-up the OpenSesame software on your device.


This lecture contains an explanation of the main features and functions of OpenSesame.


This lecture contains a brief overview of the main panels of OpenSesame: The Main toolbar, the Overview window, the Item toolbar and the Tab area.

Section 2: Understanding and Navigating Through the Main Toolbar and the Overview Window

In this lecture, we will explain what the icons in the main toolbar (the top toolbar) mean.


In this lecture, we will explain how you can navigate the overview window and what functions you can perform here, such as changing the colour and font used in your experiment or even reordering and renaming the items in your experiment.

The Main Toolbar and the Overview Window
5 questions
Section 3: Understanding and Navigating Through the Tab Area and the Item Toolbar

In this lecture, we will explain what the tab area is used and how you can add new or existing items to your experiment.

The Tab Area
5 questions

This lecture contains a description of the loop item.

4 questions

A recap of the concepts we have encountered until this point.


This lecture contains a description of the sequence item and how it differs from the loop item.

The Loop and the Sequence Items
6 questions

In this lecture, we will explain what the sketchpad is used for and we will guide you through its various features.


This lecture is a continuation of the previous lecture.


In this lecture, we will discuss how to edit and delete Sketchpad items.

The Sketchpad
5 questions

This lecture contains an explanation of the form items such as the ready made consent form, the multiple choice form, the general display form and the like.


In this lecture, we will discuss more form items, including the form_text_input item, that permits collection of text-based data.

3 questions

A quick recap of some of the concepts we have encountered until now.


This lecture will discuss the keyboard response and mouse response items.


In this lecture, we will learn about other response collection items that typically require external hardware.


In this lecture, we will explain what the Logger and Feedback items do and how they can be used.

Reviewing More Items
6 questions

In this lecture, we will explain how to use the Sampler, Synth and Inline Script items.


In this lecture, we will learn about the fixation dot and the video player items.


In this lecture, we will learn about the advanced delay, notepad, PyGaze, boks, port reader, staircase, parallel and repeat cycle items.

A Final Review of the Items
6 questions
Section 4: Using the Software to Design the Spatial Cueing Experiment

Here, we will use the features we have learnt earlier to begin designing an experiment on the OpenSesame interface.


In this lecture, we will go over what the basic outline of an experiment is as well as what the Spatial Cuing Experiment is about.


In this lecture you will create the main sequence of the experiment and appropriately name the added items.


Here, we will refine the process of creating the main sequence by renaming and editing the items.


In this lecture you will learn how to create the block sequence and rename the items.


Here, we will start by defining our experimental variables in the block loop.


Here, we will add two final variables to the experiment - the response of the participant and the congruency variables.

Reviewing the Process of Creating an Experiment Part 1
5 questions

In this lecture, we shall be learning how to add image and sound files to the trial sequence using the sketchpad and sampler items respectively.


Here, we shall start appending items to the trial sequence to build the experiment.


Here, we shall add image files and the fixation dot to the sketchpad item.


Here, we shall edit the sketchpad item of the target

3 questions

A quick recap of all the concepts we have learnt until this point.


Here, we shall add the keyboard response item, the sampler item, and the logger item


Here, we shall edit the feedback item and also set the loop lengths for the experiment.


After this lecture, perform the experiment and save the data.

Reviewing the Process of Creating an Experiment Part 2
5 questions

Here, we shall do a quick sample run of the experiment to ensure that we have not made any errors in the process of creating the experiment.

4 questions

A quick recap of everything we have covered until this point.

Section 5: Comprehending Data Output from OpenSesame

In this lecture you will learn how to record data from OpenSesame on your computer.


In this lecture you will learn how to interpret the recorded data.

Data Output from OpenSesame
5 questions
Section 6: Additional Applications (Misc. Functions, Modifying Scripts)

In this lecture, we will explain how you can use the counterbalancing function in OpenSesame.

4 questions

A recap of everything you have learnt until this point.


In this lecture, we will explain how you can edit the OpenSesame Syntax as well as go over some miscellaneous functions of OpenSesame.


In this lecture, we will explain what you can do in case a problem occurs during an experiment.

The Additional Applications
5 questions
Section 7: Customizing OpenSesame to Your Research

This section will help students apply OpenSesame to one of their current research studies that are compatible with the software. This is to make the software more relevant to participants' research areas.

OpenSesame Course Notes
24 pages

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Instructor Biography

Monk Prayogshala, Not for Profit Academic Research Institution

Monk Prayogshala (Sec 25) is a not-for-profit academic research institution based in India and registered under the Companies Act, 1956. It is also among the most trusted training institutions in the field of academic research in India, with MP trained alumni regularly pursuing PhDs and Masters programs in the US, UK and Australia and working with reputed Non Government Organisations and NPOs to measure research impact and publish their work in high impact research journals. Monk Prayogshala comprises a team of Research Authors, Assistants and Interns currently working in the areas of psychological and economic academic research. The Prayogshala team aims to follow rigorous processes in the development of research proposals, while ensuring adherence to ethical considerations prescribed by international organisations, such as the American Psychological Association. This institution aims to enhance the practicability of the disciplines it functions in, through the use of research software, research databases and research management tools to facilitate the research process. The institution is known for international publications in the disciplines of Psychology and Economics, covering diverse research areas including negative creativity, gossip, and gender studies in Indian cinema, with a number of research publications under review. The institution aims to further the cause of academic research in and from India, and improve the quality and volume of the nation's research output into the global academic research community.

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