Behavioral Experimentation in an online world

Behavioural Science research heavily relies on human subjects for data collection. In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers in the field have found it extremely hard to collect data. This has encouraged many researchers to switch to online experimentation. However, online modes pose multiple challenges, including availably of relevant software, recruiting participants, and lack of controlled settings.

The seminar conducted on 10 and 13 August 2021, invited Prof. Carolyn McGettigan from UCL and Mr. Aditya Singh from IIT Gandhinagar to talk about their experiences in conducting behavioural research online. Prof. McGettigan talked about recruitment platforms and shared tips for conducting studies online, while Mr. Singh focused on introducing attendees to open-source software for conducting experiments and collecting data.

The Social Life of Voices: Studying the perception and production of human vocal signals

Prof Carolyn McGettigan,
Chair in Speech and Hearing Sciences
UCL Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences 

About the speaker: Prof McGettigan was born and schooled in Derry, Northern Ireland. They completed their BA in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, followed by a PhD in Human Communication Science at UCL. Their research is concerned with understanding the behavioural and neural processes involved in vocal communication. They set up the VoCoLab at Royal Holloway in 2012, and in September 2018 they relocated to UCL Speech, Hearing, and Phonetic Sciences.

Abstract: The human voice is an essentially social signal, yet it is mainly studied as a channel for linguistic communication. Prof McGettigan’s research aims to redress this imbalance in the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience, through a programme of research that investigates voices as auditory representations of the self and other people. In their talk, they gave an overview of this ongoing work, focusing on our recent use of online data collection platforms to conduct their research. They described online studies on voice perception and production, concerning for example how we recognize and discriminate identity from voices, how we process self-associated vocal signals, and how our own self-generated voice converges with another’s when speaking in synchrony.

Recording of the talk:


Using open-source software in Cognitive Psychology projects

Aditya Singh, IIT Gandhinagar

About the speaker: Aditya Singh is a PhD student in the Curiosity Lab at IIT Gandhinagar. He is currently investigating the cognitive bases of curiosity, and working on ways to incorporate curiosity in Indian classrooms. He has a BTech in Electronics & Communication from NIT Kurukshetra and an MSc in Cognitive Science from IIT Gandhinagar

About the talk: What does it take to conduct a cognitive psychology experiment? You may think that it involves a lab situated in an institution but with many of us at home wondering when we’ll be able to visit our labs again, it’s time to explore ways in which your lab could be brought home. During this talk, Mr Singh discussed the basics of two open-source software, Opensesame which is a common tool for experimental design, and JASP, for data analysis.