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Thread: Do I need both DirectRT and MediaLab?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Do I need both DirectRT and MediaLab?

    Summary
    Depends on what you're doing. MediaLab can take RTs, but..

    Details
    Both programs are stand alone, but they do work very well together as complements. Whether you use one or both depends on what your needs are.

    MediaLab has more flexiblity and greater ease of use with respect to traditional questionnaires (many closed and open-ended question formats) and multi-media stimuli (movies, sound, html, word documents, powerpoint shows, etc.). You can point and click an attractive questionnaire or experiment together really quick and the data files are very easy to work with as they're horizontal (one row per subject) and ready to analyze in Excel or SPSS.

    Its weakness is that all the multi-media flexibility requires that it be a traditional windows program so the precision of timing (both display and RTs) is not great. It's also not great when you have a more cognitive/perception type of study where you have hundreds of repeated trials (e.g., priming/lexical decision style tasks).

    This is what DirectRT is excellent for. You define your trials in a spreadsheet (e.g., Excel) so you can use your favourite spreadsheet app for editing the input files (a very nice benefit).

    You get total control over timing because it's a DirectX application and not a "Windows" program. Basically, it was created to do what MediaLab can't do well--high precision cognitive/perception, "blocks of trials" types of tasks. Due to the nature of DirectRT experiments, the data files are vertical (e.g., one row per trial).

    This means it takes a bit more skill to collapse and analyze the data. Although some tasks could be easily done with either program, one or the other is usually a clear choice. A lot of people use both and embed DirectRT sessions within a more general MediaLab experiment.

    That's the gist of the difference anyways..
    Last edited by JEC; 11-28-2005 at 03:14 PM.

  2. #2

    Still not sure ...

    Hi Blair and Others:

    Long time user, first time poster!

    I am working on a study where we do care how long participants spend on each page, but only to the level of second precision (e.g. 5 seconds, or 29 seconds, or 85 seconds), not millisecond precision. We do not have any repeated trial blocks.

    MediaLab or DirectRT?

    Thanks!
    Dolly

  3. #3
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    Hi Dolly,

    Other design considerations aside, it sounds like either program would be fine for your study. I would suggest using the one with which you are most comfortable.

    Blair

  4. #4
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    [edited from support email]
    If the interest in our research protocols using reaction time and DirectRT continues to grow I will be interested in what MediaLab can do for us. For instance, in the current study we’re having consumers take part in one product test via DirectRT and then, after they finish, I need to lean over the consumers to load the next input file for a different DirectRT task. I can't avoid this because I need to use the randomization functions (BGR, WGR) for each task and so I can not combine them into one. With MediaLab, I could randomize that order and eliminate the need to manually change the input files. Correct?
    Last edited by jarvis24; 02-01-2008 at 04:43 PM.

  5. #5
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    Yes, MediaLab offers a great way to administer multiple DirectRT input files within a single session--especially when you want to randomize or counter balance the DirectRT files that are being administered. Another option is to make batch files in a folder or on the desktop that can launch the DirectRT sessions automatically with the subjects and condition IDs pre-determined. For the latter solution see the DirectRT user's guide for details or online here:
    www.empirisoft.com/directrt/help/directrt_running_from_a_command_prompt.htm

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    36

    MediaLab RT accuracy?

    Quote Originally Posted by jarvis24 View Post
    Its [MediaLab's] weakness is that all the multi-media flexibility requires that it be a traditional windows program so the precision of timing (both display and RTs) is not great. It's also not great when you have a more cognitive/perception type of study where you have hundreds of repeated trials (e.g., priming/lexical decision style tasks).
    OK, so RT accuracy in MediaLab is "not great". Could you provide some more quantitatiive estimate of "not great"? 100 millisecond accuracy? 10 ms accuracy? 1 s accuracy? 5 s accuracy?

    I search the forum & the manual and could not find an answer to this. Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Take a look at this page of the DirectRT manual that has more information about timing in DirectRT: http://www.empirisoft.com/directrt/h...y_concepts.htm
    Jason Reed
    Empirisoft Software Support Specialist

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jason_reed View Post
    Take a look at this page of the DirectRT manual that has more information about timing in DirectRT: http://www.empirisoft.com/directrt/h...y_concepts.htm
    Jason, Thanks. I already saw that page, and I know that *DirectRT* achieves millisecond-quality timing by means of DirectX. But that's not my question here. And I already know that *MediaLab* (as opposed to DirectRT) does *not* provide millisecond accuracy. To repeat, I would like some quantitative estimate of what kind of timing accuracy we might expect with MediaLab. Using *MediaLab* (as opposed to DirectRT), could we expect timing accuracy of 100 ms? 10 ms? 1 s? 5 s? 5 min? Or are "all bets off" when it comes to timing with MediaLab?

    In particular, I am curious about timing accuracy for measuring responses (as opposed to timing accuracy for the presentation of stimuli).

    Thanks.

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