Update: Currently The Black Box ToolKit Ltd is
operating as normal. All our products are in stock, we are
able to fulfill custom orders and are shipping worldwide
with very little disruption. Feel free to get in touch if
you would like a quote or advice on how we can help you
guarantee your timing accuracy. During these challenging
times, we wish everyone well.
Don't forget all our response pads and response boxes offer an easy to clean and sanitize solution for research in your psychology lab during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
The Black Box ToolKit Ltd specializes in products that help psychologists, neuroscientists and vision researchers achieve millisecond accurate stimulus presentation and response timing, synchronization and TTL event marking, or triggering, in their computer-based experiments.
Ask yourself are you:
- Aware of millisecond timing error in your own experiments?
- Confident you can replicate experiments using different hardware and software in another lab?
- Always carrying out the experiments you assume you are?
Millisecond timing error affects your work even when you use experiment generator software such as E-Prime, SuperLab, Inquisit, Presentation, Paradigm, OpenSesame or PsychoPy etc.
Online and lab-based psychology experiments are equally prone to timing errors.
Poorly controlled computer-based psychology experiments can lead to replication failure, spurious results and questionable conclusions.
Using a faster computer to
deliver your psychology experiments or switching between
Windows, macOS or Linux is unlikely to help achieve better
millisecond timing, nor is changing software package.
Do not be taken in by the suggestion you simply need to run more trials or that errors can be corrected statistically. Aim for as near zero millisecond timing error as possible on your own equipment with your own experiment scripts.
Our range of professional measurement and calibration products let you quickly and easily check your millisecond timing accuracy, event mark more reliably and improve your reaction time measures.
Thought for the day: If you have read the PsychoPy paper, 'The timing mega-study: comparing a range of experiment generators, both lab-based and online', you might want to be even more cautious as they used a BBTK v2 to test PsychoPy's timing ability against a range of other Experiment Generators. However, if you stop and think for a moment, "How does testing a range of Experiment Generators using very simple scripts mean I will get the same results on my computer with my scripts?". Plus, what about hardware and software updates or errors in your scripts? Would it not be better to have your own BBTK v2, or mBBTK and test and tweak your own studies for better timing accuracy…
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 is 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 a recognized experiment generator or write your own experiment delivery software.
Modern computer hardware may be faster but millisecond timing accuracy in cognitive paradigms 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! Low level hardware access and never-ending OS updates are now becoming problematic even for experienced programmers.
Millisecond timing error in your computer-based psychology experiments means that your study may not be working as you intended and that your results might be spurious.
Are you putting your reputation at risk?
If you run cognitive psychology experiments on a
computer we can help you be sure of your results!
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