Stimulus Presentation Packages
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We (in the Brain and Language Lab, at Georgetown University)
are considering changing to a new stimulus presentation
software/hardware package (we currently use a proprietary set up).
We are hoping to get some advice on the various packages and devices
out there. Our needs are for psycholinguistic, ERP and fMRI experiments,
involving audio and/or visual stimuli, with either voice or button-press responses. Although our current system is Mac-based, we've decided to switch to a PC/Windows (Windows XP) based package.
We're considering E-Prime (Psychology Software Tools), Presentation (Neurobehavioral Systems), and DMDX (a free package from the University of Arizona).
Any specific/general concerns or positive comments about these would be greatly appreciated (we'll send a summary to the list afterwards).
We also have some specific concerns/questions:
1) E-Prime claims that *only* their combined microphone/button-box
hardware (their "Serial Response Box") will work for voice triggering.
QUESTION: Is this true? Has anyone successfully used different sound
cards/hardware with E-Prime for voice-triggering? (The reason we ask is that E-Prime's serial response box is quite expensive).
2) Even though apparently one can use third-party button-boxes or gamepads
(ie, for recording button-presses only, without voice-triggering),
it's not clear to us which ones are best, and how good they are.
QUESTION: Does anyone have any experience with this?
3) For voice triggering, Presentation and DMDX use a standard microphone
connected to a sound card. QUESTION: Which sound cards seem to be best (most accurate, fewest problems)?
4) Although CRT monitors are very precise by all accounts, we're
going to want to use LCD monitors (for off-site testing in laptops).
However, pixels in LCD monitors can take tens of milliseconds to change color, and this time is quite variable. As far as we know, none of the three stimulus presentation packages we are considering deal with this problem (as far as we know, this problem cannot be resolved with software, but we're not sure...) QUESTION: Has anyone out there dealt with this in a reasonable way? How?
Thanks very much!
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