Alternative to PsychoPy Builder: Understanding its Limitations and Migration Solutions

Research Scientist

PsychoPy Builder has been a prominent tool in psychological research, providing a robust platform for designing and running experiments. But, like all tools, it has its limitations. This article sheds light on those limitations and delves into recommended alternatives for conducting these crucial behavioral experiments online.

Limitations of PsychoPy Builder

The rigid framework and steep learning curve of PsychoPy Builder can often hinder researchers' progress. Additionally, the inability to easily and reliably run online experiments, specifically cognitive tasks, poses a significant challenge in the era of remote studies.

It's important to remember that being a researcher usually does not mean being a developer as well. As such, understanding programming languages in-depth, like Python, which is required for more advanced usage of PsychoPy, can be an additional burden on the scientific researcher.

Alternative Tools for Psychological Research

There are several reliable alternatives to PsychoPy Builder available for running online experiments. One notable platform is the JsPsych library, known for its ease of use and versatility.

Another potent tool for conducting online cognitive tasks is It offers an accessible platform for designing, creating, and running experiments that can be readily adapted across various disciplines of psychological research.

Migrating to a New Platform

The migration process can seem daunting in the beginning. However, with the right strategy and approach, it can be manageable.

Here is a step-by-step guideline for migrating to a new platform:

  1. First, recognize the need for migration. Understanding the limitations of the current tool and the potential advantages of the new one is crucial.
  2. Research on the destination platform, focusing on its tools, functionalities, and ease of use. Resources including tutorials, webinars, or demo runs of the chosen platform can be immense aids.
  3. Translate experiments from one platform format to the other. Some platforms offer tools to facilitate this process.
  4. Test the translated experiment, ensuring all the elements and functionalities work as expected in the new environment. A pilot experiment is highly recommended.

Estimating the Migration Costs

The cost of migration primarily depends on the size and complexity of the existing study design. It also includes the training time required to familiarize yourself with the new platform.

Most of these platforms, including JsPsych and offer free initial access and reasonable subscription fees for more advanced use, rendering an affordable solution for most researchers.

Conducting online experiments can be a daunting task. But the ever-evolving technology and tools are paving the way for more accessible, reliable, and versatile solutions. It's just a matter of choosing the one that aligns most closely with your research goals.

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