Illustration of a scientist designing an experiment

Designing and Running Scientific Experiments Online: A comprehensive guide

Running online experiments presents unique challenges that are not present in traditional lab-based research. However, if these challenges are tackled appropriately, the benefits of conducting online experiments can far exceed those of in-person studies. Here, we will guide you through the process of designing and running behavioral and cognitive experiments online.

Behavioral Experiments

While behavioral experiments were traditionally run in lab settings, the advancement of technology and tools like jsPsych have made it possible to conduct these experiments remotely. JsPsych is a JavaScript library, specially designed for conducting psychological studies online, making it an excellent choice when designing and running behavioral experiments online.

Cognitive Experiments

Cognitive experiments often involve cognitive tasks that examine specific psychological processes. These tasks can be run online via platforms like, a cloud-based solution specially designed for cognitive tasks. It provides a plethora of pre-coded tasks as well as the ability to customize tasks according to your research needs.

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Piloting and Running Experiments

Before running your full-scale study, it's crucial to pilot your experiments. This can be done remotely, adding another layer of convenience. Bugs, engagement levels, and preliminary results can be examined during the pilot phase to ensure your experiment runs smoothly when fully deployed.

Remote Studies

Conducting your studies remotely opens up a wide participant pool, increasing the diversity of your sample and the generalizability of your results. Online platforms such as allow you to manage participant recruitment and data collection seamlessly.

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Research Community Support

The journey of designing and running scientific experiments is arduous but you're not alone. There’s a large community of researchers who are navigating the same challenges. Online forums, webinars, and workshops can provide valuable insights. Online communities can also prove to be an excellent resource to troubleshoot any issues navigating software like jsPsych.

By leveraging the tools available and drawing on advice from the community, you can navigate the challenges that come with conducting online experiments, enabling you to further your scientific research and contribute to our growing understanding of human behavior and cognitive processes.

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