Comparing Cognition with MTurk for Online Behavioral Experiments

Running online experiments can be a complex and daunting task for scientific researchers. This article provides a concrete examination of two major platforms for online behavioral and cognitive experiments (Cognition and MTurk). It aims at comparing their cost-efficiency, learning curve, flexibility, and community aspects.

Cost Comparison

The financial aspect is one of the crucial considerations when running experiments. While MTurk uses a pay-per-respondent model, Cognition offers unlimited experiments and respondents for a fixed fee. This makes Cognition a more cost-effective solution, especially for larger, more complex cognitive tasks and larger sample size.

Learning Curve Comparison

Psychological research often involves honing and obtaining new skills. When dealing with online platforms like Cognition and MTurk, the learning curve must be evaluated. MTurk is known for its intricate interface and challenging programming tasks. On the other hand, Cognition is powered by jsPsych, which offers a more accessible and user-friendly environment for non-programmers and new users, reducing the steepness of the learning curve.

Flexibility Comparison

The flexibility of the experimentation platform to offer different types of experiments and tasks is paramount. MTurk is primarily designed for microtasks, which can limit its application in complex cognitive or behavioural studies. Conversely, Cognition offers extensive options to design and implement various tasks, offering greater flexibility which is fundamental in psychological research.

Community Comparison

A supportive community is crucial for resolving issues and sharing experiences. MTurk’s large user base comes with an active online community. However, it can feel impersonal and overwhelming. On the other hand, Cognition’s platform integrates with its own online community. The platform often hosts webinars and has a dedicated help team, fostering a more manageable and personalized interaction, which aids in running experiments smoothly.

Conducting remote studies can be challenging. But with platforms like Cognition, the process can become more streamlined and accessible, which is invaluable for researchers engaging in online experimental studies.

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