1. WHAT If you are a psychologist, neuroscientist or vision researcher who uses a computer to run experiments, and report timing accuracy in units of a millisecond, then it's likely your timings are wrong! This can lead to replication failure, spurious results and questionable conclusions. Timing error affects your work even when you use an experiment generator like E-Prime, SuperLab, Inquisit, Presentation, Paradigm or PsychoPy…
Are you always carrying out the experiments you assume you are?
Are you aware of millisecond timing error in your own experiments?
Are you confident you can replicate experiments using different hardware and software in another lab?
Our Black Box ToolKit v2 lets you quickly and easily check your own millisecond timing accuracy in terms of stimulus presentation accuracy; stimulus synchronization accuracy; and response time accuracy. While our new millisecond accurate USB response pad can help you improve your response timing in any experiment!
Timing error means that your study is not working as you intended and that your results might be spurious. Are you putting your reputation at risk?
Using a BBTK v2 guarantees your ability to replicate.
Modern computer hardware may be faster but millisecond timing accuracy gets harder to achieve year-on-year. A common misconception is that 'millisecond precision' equals 'millisecond accuracy'. Precision simply means that timings are reported in units of a millisecond, not that they are accurate!
For example, all TFT monitors and projectors suffer from input lag. If you present an image it will take longer to appear on screen than you might think. On some models this can be upwards of 100 milliseconds. Whatever experiment generator you use, it only knows when it requested a stimulus image be shown and not the time when it physically appeared.
3. HOW To improve replication and enhance credibility researchers should self-validate, or self-certify, their own studies in terms of millisecond presentation, synchronization and response timing accuracy.
Currently self-validation of millisecond timing accuracy can only be done quickly and easily with a Black Box ToolKit v2. This acts as a programmable virtual human that can detect and respond to stimulus events with sub-millisecond accuracy. It enables you, the researcher, to check the accuracy of your own paradigm whilst running in-situ on your own equipment.
Set-up – Hook up external stimulus sensors (opto-detectors, mics, TTL) and a response device (response pad, robotic key actuator, sounder, TTL)
Test – Use a wizard to select a stimulus pattern to automatically respond to/event mark. Then choose the exact response time, response device and duration
Analyze – Check your stimulus, response and synchronization timings across up to 36 channels. Compare what your experiment recorded with what the BBTK v2 saw
NEW millisecond accurate USB response pad Make millisecond accurate response timing in your Psychology experiments one less thing to worry about! Learn more about the BBTK USB Response Pad.
Sleek carbon fibre effect enclosure around the size of a paperback book
Choice of 1 to 8 buttons
Works out of the box with PCs/Macs/Linux
Compatible with all Psychology experiment generators, e.g. E-Prime, PsychoPy etc.
Needs no drivers – fully plug in & play
Appears as a second keyboard
Map buttons to any keystroke you need
Scans for a press 50,000 times every second
Guarantee millisecond accurate responses*
Built-in TTL event marking for EEG, biofeedback, fMRI and time audit
Use up to 4x external buttons
4x Active Switch Closures trigger your own response device/8x TTL
Works with the Black Box ToolKit v2 allowing it to take over all stimulus and response timing duties
The Black Box ToolKit specialises in products that help psychologists, neuroscientists and vision researchers achieve millisecond accurate stimulus presentation, synchronisation, and reaction time measurement in their computer-based experiments. Poorly controlled psychology experiments can lead to replication failure, spurious results and questionable conclusions. Millisecond timing error affects your work even when you use an experiment generator like E-Prime, SuperLab, Inquisit, Presentation, Paradigm, OpenSesame or PsychoPy etc.
You should not be taken in by the suggestion that you simply need to run more trials or that errors can be corrected statistically. You should aim for as near zero millisecond timing error as possible on your own equipment with your own experiment scripts.
Ask yourself: (1) Are you always carrying out the experiments you assume you are? (2) Are you aware of millisecond timing error in your own experiments? (3) Are you confident you can replicate experiments using different hardware and software in another lab? What | Why | How
Cognitive Psychology, University of Sheffield, UK.
What should have been simple turned into a major headache. We wanted to display a prime for 11ms and evaluate social behaviour dependent on the prime. Unfortunately 33% of our participants could see the prime! Without the BBTK we wouldn't have been able to carry out our replication successfully.
Speech & Language, University of York, UK. We noticed that on some trials there appeared to be a presentation lag on the sounds we wanted to play to participants. This turned out to be due to soundcard startup latencies. With the help of a BBTK v2 we managed to adjust onsets so that sounds were synchronised.
EEG & fMRI, University of Durham, UK.
In some of our EEG work it was sometimes difficult to know the exact relationship between what we presented, a subjects response and what the EEG recorded. We used a BBTK v2 to evaluate presentation timings and event mark to help tighten up our experiments prior to publication.
Space Applications Services, Belgium. Space Applications performs space system and software engineering for the European Space Agency, national space agencies and the space industry (unmanned and manned). They work with the BBTK to ensure accurate presentation and response timings in Virtual and Augmented Reality systems (eVRS).