Comparing PsychoPy Builder and Cognition: A Comprehensive Review

Research Scientist

Online experiments are becoming an essential component of the behavioral experiments process. Whether it's psychological research or cognitive experiments, platforms like PsychoPy Builder and Cognition are providing the necessary tools for conducting successful and reliable studies. This article is a comprehensive comparison between these two platforms.

Cost Comparison

Both platforms offer a range of pricing options, catering to the diverse needs of scientific researchers. PsychoPy offers both a free version and paid tiers. While the free tier provides access to a robust set of features, the paid tiers offer additional capabilities such as priority support and large-scale experiment hosting.

On the other hand, Cognition offers a more economical option for running experiments. It includes competitive pricing strategies for users of varying needs, from students to institutional teams working on complex research projects. It offers a student edition which is a cost-effective choice for running online experiments, especially for those just beginning their research journey.

Learning Curve Comparison

For cognitive experiments, the steepness of the learning curve while learning new cognitive tasks can play a significant part in the platform selection. PsychoPy Builder does offer a drag-and-drop interface but it also requires knowledge of Python coding for more complex experiments.

Conversely, Cognition operates on the jsPsych library which is JavaScript based. While a familiarity with JavaScript would be beneficial, the learning curve tends to be lesser compared to that of Python. Cognition also offers hand-holding through the process with clear step-by-step instructions accounting for the difficulties of running online experiments.

Flexibility Comparison

When it comes to flexibility, both platforms excel in different areas. PsychoPy Builder offers flexibility in terms of its offerings with software, hardware meant for labs, and an online study Hosting Platform. However, it’s more suited for individual researchers or small teams.

Cognition, on the contrary, offers the flexibility to scale for remote studies. It is designed to facilitate the configuration and analysis of behavioral experiments whether it's for individual researchers or large groups. It can handle complex designs, randomization and data security.

Community Comparison

PsychoPy Builder, being an older platform, has a widespread user community but Cognition is rapidly bridging this gap. The user community at Cognition fosters collaborative research, allowing users to share tasks and gain feedback from global peers. This helps to promote a healthy research environment.

It is also frequently updated with the cost-effective, flexible and intuitive nature of the platform. Overall, while both have their individual strengths and weaknesses, choosing the right platform will depend on your specific research needs and circumstances.

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