Comparing jsPsych to Cognition for Online Behavioral and Cognitive Experiments

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Creating reliable online studies has been a challenging task for researchers. Tools like jsPsych and Cognition have made the process easier, but making a choice between the two can be complex. Here we examine these two resources based on cost, learning curve, flexibility, and community.

Cost Comparison

jsPsych, an open-source JavaScript library for running behavioral experiments in a web browser is free of charge. However, online hosting might incur added expenses. Generally funding is essential for necessary tools or services like Amazon AWS or other similar platforms.

Meanwhile Cognition offers a more compact package. It not only extends the free jsPsych library for creating experiments but also provides online hosting. Running cost might actually be lower due to combined services and it even comes with a generous free tier.

Learning Curve Comparison

jsPsych's learning curve might be steeper if you lack JavaScript knowledge. You must be quite proficient with this language to effectively use jsPsych for creating and running online experiments.

Cognition, on the other hand, does not require such extensive programming knowledge. It is as easy as connecting tasks in a visual interface. While integrating jsPsych experiments is also possible, the overall learning curve is appreciably flatter.

Flexibility Comparison

With jsPsych, there is a high level of flexibility since you can custom code your experiments. However, such flexibility can become a little overwhelming, particularly for complex experiments.

With Cognition, the trade-off for simplicity is lower customization. Nonetheless, it provides sufficiently adaptable cognitive tasks that should cater to a wide spectrum of psychological research.

Community Comparison

JsPsych, being around for more time, has a larger user community. Conversely, with a younger but growing community, Cognition presents more modern and user-friendly features. Both offer benefits: jsPsych with its bounty of previous examples and Cognition with its more comfortable and accessible interface and features.

In conclusion, between jsPsych and Cognition, the choice depends largely on your requirements and preferences. If you are comfortable with programming and appreciate maximum flexibility, jsPsych could be ideal. If you prioritize simplicity, accessibility, integrated services, and lower costs, you might prefer using Cognition for your online experiments.

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