A Comprehensive Guide: Setting up an Experiment on Prolific Online Platform

Running online experiments allows you to reach a wider sample demographic, and it's a must-have skill for every psychological researcher today. However, setting up and running experiments online can be a complex and daunting task. It is especially true when you are trying to design behavioral experiments or cognitive tasks. In this guide, we will demystify the process of setting up an online behavioral or cognitive experiment on the Prolific Online Platform.

Step 1: Account Setup

In the first place, you must set up your researcher account on Prolific, a platform designed to streamline the process of setting up and running remote studies.

Step 2: Designing Your Experiment

The Prolific Online platform is designed to work seamlessly with Jspsych, a JavaScript library for running behavioral experiments in a web browser. When designing your experiment, start by sketching out your cognitive tasks as if they were to be done on paper, and then start transferring these into coding on Jspsych.

Step 3: Creating Your Experiment

Once you've coded your experiment in Jspsych, upload it to your server, making sure it runs correctly. The next step would be adding the experiment to the Prolific platform. Here, you provide the URL of your experiment, and indicate the estimated time it takes to finish the experiment.

Step 4: Running Your Experiment

After completing the setup, you are ready to launch. You can preview your study before releasing it to participants to ensure everything works as expected. If there's an issue, you can reset the study, adjust settings in Jspsych and re-upload it.

Looking for More Resources?

If you ever get stuck, the Prolific website has an extensive library of resources; from technical documentation to a community of researchers ready to help. Aside from Prolific's resources, Jspsych's official website also provides a plethora of documentation and guides on creating and running cognitive and behavioral experiments. You can also find articles and updates on www.cognition.run, which is dedicated to cognitive research and online experiment design. The journey from designing to running an online experiment can indeed seem challenging. But remember, every great psychological research undertaking starts with a single step. Take that step today!

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