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Thread: Customer Reviews

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    Customer Reviews

    Want to submit a personal review of our products? This is the place!

    Note: for published reviews, please see www.empirisoft.com/pressreleases.aspx
    Last edited by jarvis24; 11-09-2010 at 02:43 PM.

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    Robert B. Cialdini, Arizona State University

    [submitted via email]

    In the nearly two years that my graduate students and I have been using MediaLab and DirectRT, we have been continually impressed with the extent to which these programs facilitate nearly every aspect of our laboratory research. Because MediaLab and DirectRT have such a wide range of options and capabilities, we have rarely encountered a project that could not be easily run with these programs. The nearly intuitive programming, the diverse functionality, and the complete elimination of data entry have made our lab more efficient from the very first day that we installed these programs on our computers.

    Robert B. Cialdini
    Arizona State University
    Last edited by jarvis24; 11-25-2005 at 12:05 PM.

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    Fritz Strack, Universitaet Wuerzburg, Germany

    [from the SPSP discussion group, January 8, 2001]

    Dear Colleagues,

    It has been a couple of weeks that I have asked you for experiences with lab software. Your responses were most informative. Many thanks for your help! Here is a short and impressionistic summary that is, of course, highly biased by the self-selection of the respondents: Over all, of the some twenty replies that we have received, there seems to be a strong preference for MediaLab and the corresponding RT tool named DirectRT. Only strong suggestions in favour of MediaLab were reported, literally every respondent who was using MediaLab seemed to be pleased with it. A different picture has emerged for other software:

    Unfortunately, very few respondents seemed to have first-hand experience with EPrime. There still seem to be some problems in adapting old MEL programs. Supposedly, the programming code has not changed that much and still seems to be less intuitive than the easy-to-use, clickable tools of MediaLab. Nevertheless, the RT measuring tool of EPrime seems to be comfortable and exact - something we do not know for Inquisit and Superlab, programs that seem to be less widely distributed. In sum, both EPrime and MediaLab seem to have good RT-tools that work properly and yield accurate results in the "not so easy to handle" windows environment.

    Fritz Strack
    Universitaet Wuerzburg, Germany
    Last edited by jarvis24; 11-25-2005 at 12:05 PM.

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    Neal Roese, University of Illinois, UC

    A stunning breakthrough: at last a software package is able to bring the vivid possibilities of computer multimedia to the laboratory, and all without any advanced programming skills required. Putting a questionnaire onto a PC has never been easier. With color, font, image and other formatting so effortlessly manipulated, MediaLab raises the computer experiment to a whole new aesthetic level.

    Neal Roese
    University of Illinois, UC
    Last edited by jarvis24; 11-25-2005 at 12:04 PM.

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    Richard E. Petty, Ohio State University

    MediaLab is a fantastic software tool that allows graduate students with a minimum level of computer expertise to program their own relatively complex multi-media experiments. Students find the program to be not only extraordinarily useful, but fun to interact with as well. As a result of the popularity of MediaLab experiments in our lab, we are doubling the number of computer work stations for conducting studies.

    Richard E. Petty
    Ohio State University

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    John Bassili, University of Toronto

    MediaLab and DirectRT have been extremely useful for our research in the past several years. My lab had used other experimental software in the past, and we had found the experience excruciating. DirectRT, which we use for our response time research is very user friendly. I require that students who work in my lab learn to use it before getting started with their research, and this has never been an impediment to a quick start. I am very pleased with MediaLab and DirectRT and recommend them highly.

    John Bassili,
    University of Toronto

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    Lowell Gaertner, University of Tennessee

    I've been using MediaLab and DirectRT in my lab for the past 3 1/2 years and am thrilled with both packages. They are very flexible and user-friendly (i.e., minimal programming). I toyed around with other software packages and found them to be less flexible and much more difficult to program. I highly recommend MediaLab and DirectRT!

    Lowell Gaertner
    University of Tennessee

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    Bruce Bartholow, University of North Carolina

    In general I have liked using DirectRT and MediaLab very much. The programs are easy to learn and intuitive for researchers (and especially research assistants) who might have little to no programming experience. The customer support has been outstanding, and in my view is the best in the industry.

    Bruce Bartholow
    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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    Regan Gurung, University of Wisconsin

    This is the most user friendly program that I have ever used (and I have tried many). To me, the most impressive quality about it is that I can train students in how to use it in a very short period of time. This is a boon to anyone teaching research methods where students are devising their own experiments. Using MediaLab has made my students excited to do research as it does not limit the type of stimuli material they need to use. The reaction time measure in the basic module represents a great way to blend current social cognition methodology into design and is also a commendable feature. The technical support is wonderful, and the fact that the head programmer is very accessible give the user a lot of comfort. This program is THE way to do computer research!!!

    Regan Gurung
    University of Wisconsin, Green Bay

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    Anthony Greenwald, University of Washington

    I've tried the DirectRT implementation of the IAT. It worked like a charm and has an appearance very similar to the lab procedures we've been using for the last few years.

    Anthony Greenwald, Co-Creator of the IAT,
    University of Washington

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    Bertram Gawronski, University of Western Ontario

    Of all lab software packages I have used now, MediaLab and DirectRT were not only the most flexible tools, but also the ones which were most easy to handle. The programming is so easy that even an inexperienced research assistant can create basic experiments within a day of practice. And the two programs are capable of combining nearly any kind of stimulus and response you may wish to use for your research. Most importantly, the service provided by empirisoft is exceptional. In fact, I can't think of any better lab software for psychological research.

    Bertram Gawronski,
    University of Western Ontario

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    Stephen M. Smith, North Georgia College

    I plan on purchasing MediaLab for 31 machines. I'm sold on your product! You really don't have any competition. This is easily the best product on the market for researchers interested in running computerized experiments.

    Stephen M. Smith,
    North Georgia College

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    Gifford Weary, Ohio State University

    We often look at effort or time on a task, and MediaLab has a built-in feature that unobtrusively allows us to get timed data for any aspect of our study - everything from time spent reading stimulus materials to completion of individual dependent measures. My graduate students have found programming in MediaLab to be very easy to learn. They have been able to begin running studies within days of being introduced to the program. It has cut the amount of time required to prepare an experiment in half; we no longer need to create multiple versions of the experimental materials or waste time at the copy machine to produce them. It has eliminated the need for data entry or conversion - the data are automatically stored in SPSS and Excel formats and ready for analysis. We also have noticed that research participants seem to be more engaged in experiments using MediaLab. MediaLab has greatly facilitated the research being conducted in my lab.

    Gifford Weary,
    Ohio State University

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    Sharon Shavitt, University of Illinois

    Perhaps the most exciting thing about MediaLab software is its potential to expand the types of research questions we can address. MediaLab gives researchers the full benefits of interactivity -- both in presenting information and in assessing responses.

    Sharon Shavitt
    University of Illinois, UC

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    Bryan Gibson, Central Michigan University

    MediaLab and DirectRT have greatly improved the efficiency of work in my lab. I'm able to present a wide variety of experimental stimuli, including video, audio, still photos, web pages, etc. in a very precise and controlled environment. I've also found that I have had a better success rate, with my experiments being more likely to result in good data. I attribute this to greater control in presenting experimental stimuli, and less room for experimenter variability in the presentation of information.

    Bryan Gibson,
    Central Michigan University

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    Michael Suvak, National Center for PTSD

    I have worked with a variety of experimental design software packages in the past, and I have found DirectRT to be the most user-friendly program that I have encountered. Within hours, I had sophisticated programs up and running. DirectRT’s ability to record very accurate response times from a Windows environment is a very nice asset, and its ability to record voice activated reaction times and actually record and save the responses is wonderful. Also, the support offered by Empirisoft was extremely timely and helpful. I highly recommend DirectRT to anyone who needs to design a reaction time task. I have found this software to be easy to use, efficient, and accurate.

    Michael Suvak,
    The National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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    Patrick Vargas, University of Illinois

    I began to feel at ease with MediaLab after having spent just 30 minutes fooling around with it. The user interface is, oxymoronically, simultaneously intuitive and complex. That is, MediaLab is intuitive enough to be employed almost immediately, even by users with little or no knowledge of computer programming (unlike competing programs like *****); however, MediaLab also offers more than enough user options to allow the development of very complex multimedia experiments. I particularly like MediaLab's data output features: MediaLab provides researchers with Microsoft Excel, SPSS Syntax, and SPSS data files. This feature is an excellent time-saver and makes the transition from data collection to data analysis a breeze.

    Patrick Vargas,
    University of Illinois, UC

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    George Bizer, Eastern Illinois University

    When I first saw what MediaLab could do, I was afraid that it would take an advanced degree in computer science to operate. Much to my surprise, the program is highly intuitive, requiring only a general understanding of Windows to learn. MediaLab offers researchers the ability to easily and quickly design multimedia experiments that would take far longer (and a far more in-depth understanding of computer programming) to create in any other way. It also makes data entry a snap, as the data files are automatically created as an Excel or SPSS file.

    George Bizer,
    Eastern Illinois University

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    Kristen N. Moreno, Northwestern University

    Essentially, MediaLab is a powerful tool for research. The flexibility and diversity in the types of stimuli that can be presented and the types of response options make it an excellent program for many different types of psychological research. The variety of data output formats ensures that the data will be easily available, regardless of which format you prefer. This also saves a lot of time and resources that could be spent on data entry. This program is essential for psychological research labs.

    Kristen N. Moreno,
    Northwestern University

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    Curtis Haugtvedt, Ohio State University

    As researchers begin to appreciate the benefits of computer-based data collection, they are often faced with the tough decisions about how to go about getting software to match their needs. Writing one's own software programs is time consuming and often results in a less than optimal solution. 'Canned' computer programs exist but these often lack the flexibility needed for creative research designs. MediaLab offers an ideal solution. Straightforward and easy to follow instructions for basic experiments yet allowing the flexibility to integrate other software routines and more complex stimulus presentation and data collection should it be necessary or desirable. The program fits the needs of researchers because MediaLab was developed in collaboration with a wide range of active researchers.

    Curtis Haugtvedt,
    Ohio State University

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    S. Christian Wheeler, Stanford University

    MediaLab holds the potential to reshape the way social psychologists conduct research. With MediaLab, it is possible to present participants with involving manipulations including graphical arrays, Power Point shows, and even video clips. All of these can be seamlessly integrated into a single experiment. No doubt, the quality of the data is improved because participants are more engaged in the experimental procedures. MediaLab is great for researchers, too. Not only is it easy to create experiments, but it’s simple to run participants and integrate the data as well. In fact, because MediaLab automatically records the data on a spreadsheet, it’s possible to run 200 participants during the day and analyze the data that night. Also, because the entire administration is computerized, it’s possible for interested researchers to conduct replications of your work using your exact experimental procedures. You can post your experiments on the web or e-mail them to interested researchers. Simply put, MediaLab allows the researcher to obtain better data with less time and effort. It’s the next wave in psychological research.

    S. Christian Wheeler,
    Stanford University

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    Ana Franco-Watkins, University of Maryland

    I find the software (both MediaLab and DirectRT) to be extremely user friendly. The software has been instrumental in reducing the amount of time required to program complex experiments. Customer support is exceptional. Blair is strongly committed to producing a quality product that is both user friendly and readily meets the experimental needs of his clients.

    Ana Franco-Watkins,
    University of Maryland

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    Antonio Luis Freitas, SUNY Stony Brook

    I have found DirectRT to be a very useful tool for conducting experiments requiring the accurate assessment of response times. It is incredibly easy and intuitive to program, and it has been flexible enough to handle most of the experimental designs I've dreamed up. Moreover, the program's developer provides excellent product support.

    Antonio Luis Freitas,
    State University of New York at Stony Brook

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    Ken Demaree, Ohio State University

    Simply put, MediaLab makes experimental design easy. A researcher can design experiments with minimal computer experience and no programming knowledge. The program is extremely flexible as it is, and it is constantly growing and developing to add new features. Regardless of the type of stimulus materials, dependent measures, or experimental designs I've used, MediaLab has been up to the task. DirectRT, the reaction time tag-a-long program it also quite easy to use. The programming is very intuitive. Now that I've used it for a few studies, I can usually design something like a sequential priming measure or lexical decision task in under an hour. One of the greatest "features" is the support. Whenever I've had any problems, Blair has been quick to offer suggestions or to fix any problems. He also willingly takes (and solicits) suggestions for future improvements in the program, allowing the program to grow with the needs of those who use it. All-in-all, I've had nothing but good experiences with the program. I would strongly recommend this program to anyone doing experimental or questionnaire research in the social sciences.

    Ken Demaree,
    Ohio State University

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    Celeste Alvaro, Simon Fraser University

    Overall, I have been quite impressed with MediaLab. I have only had experience with one other software package for conducting experiments (xxxxxxxxx) and I have to say that MediaLab is a much more sophisticated software package and extremely user friendly.

    Celeste Alvaro,
    Simon Fraser University

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    Jamie Barden, Howard University

    I have been able to quickly and easily create a wide variety of priming procedures including IAT and Fazio evaluative priming procedure. My collaborators and I have run about 20 experiments using this paradigm and have obtained not only reliable patterns of moderation, but also substantial correlations (r = .5 range) between evaluative priming procedures and conscious attitude measures and motivation measures. This speaks well of the interface with DirectX in measuring precise presentation and response times. I think that if you are looking to dabble in priming methods, or if you have more complicated measures in mind, this is a great program, low investment in time, high return.

    Jamie Barden,
    Howard University

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    Aurora Sherman, Brandeis University

    I think MediaLab is an excellent program for conducting in-person interviews, which is what I do most often. Our lab has successfully conducted over 100 interviews with older adults (60 or more years old) and even those with no experience with computers at all were able to understand the process, enter their answers to a questionnaire of over 200 items and were still cheerful at the end. Creating questionnaires is not difficult, and the program enters and saves the data; no more data entry! And cuts way down on missing data, the bane of survey methodologists everywhere. And the purchase process couldn't be easier; download and go! No waiting for CDs to come in the mail. Best of all, however, is customer support. No automated response system H***. Empirisoft answers even the dumbest questions (like mine) with patience, kindness and humor. They have created additions for special needs, been helpful to my students as well as myself, and are an all around stand-up company. I couldn't be happier with MediaLab, and expect to use it for many years to come.

    Aurora Sherman,
    Brandeis University

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    Amara Brook, University of Michigan

    MediaLab is the easiest program I have used for questionnaire-based experiments. The experiment editor interface is very intuitive, so it takes very little time for even a beginner to get an experiment up and running. Also, there is less room for user error than in an more complicated interface. MediaLab is also very flexible, even for a beginner. I am often able to select a pre-programmed option that in other programs would require custom programming. Related to this, the data is produced in a format that can immediately be imported and analyzed in SPSS, unlike some other programs. Again, this saves time and reduces the possibility of errors. Finally, the tech support is simply unparalleled. I generally receive helpful responses to my questions within a few hours. In sum, I would recommend MediaLab to anyone doing questionnaire-based experiments!

    Amara Brook,
    University of Michigan

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    Christine Page, Skidmore College

    DirectRT is truly an outstanding response time program! It is extremely user friendly, allowing people with little-to-no computer programming knowledge to quickly and easily design their own response time experiments. Other key advantages of the program include permitting multi-level randomization of stimuli, allowing for the presentation of high-end graphics, and writing data on to files that can be easily read by Excel or SPSS. Perhaps most important, the program is very sensitive in its recording of response times, maximizing response time accuracy. For anyone interested in conducting response time experiments, this is the program to use!

    Christine Page,
    Skidmore College

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    Abigail Marsh, Harvard University

    MediaLab and DirectRT are programs that clearly have been designed by a psychologist for psychologists to use. Compared to other similar software I have used, the programs meet all of my needs, from the way trials and questionnaires can be randomized to the type of stimuli that can be presented and the varieties of responses that can be collected. The many facets of the program have on occasion even prompted me to come up with study ideas I might not have otherwise. Also, the customer support that Empirisoft offers is unparalleled. They have without exception responded to my queries promptly and patiently, and do an excellent job of troubleshooting from afar. Furthermore, when DirectRT once did not meet the needs of a study I was designing in terms of the type of responses it would accept, he was able to rewrite the program for me very quickly so that it would. Getting custom-made software was definitely a new experience for me.

    Abigail Marsh,
    Harvard University

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    Shilaja Sundaramoorthy, University of Toronto

    I found both programs to be very user friendly and easy to learn. The instruction manuals for both programs were very well written and easy to follow. The examples were helpful to see what the end result would look like, as well as to use for practice in learning the programs. To be honest, I was a little worried when my supervisor asked me to learn the programs, as I did not really have a lot of programming experience. Once I started reading the manuals and trying things out for myself, my worries subsided. And when I needed help with something that I could not figure out myself, Blair Jarvis himself was very helpful. He was very patient with me an explained things very clearly and was able to help me solve any problems, just from my descriptions of what was not working. These were usually little things I had forgotten to do, and so a little reminder was sometimes all that was needed. As well, the fact that the input files are created in Excel was helpful, since I am familiar with that program. This also made making changes to the experiment easy. Many of the subjects commented on the fact that the experiment looked nice, since were able to create instruction screens using PowerPoint (which allowed us to incorporate all of the capabilities of PowerPoint as well). Finally, the data merging capability of the programs is wonderful, as it saves a lot of time for the experimenter. In summary, I would definitely recommend the programs to others and feel that they make programming experiments an easy and fun experience (even for those of us who have not done any programming previously).

    Shilaja Sundaramoorthy,
    University of Toronto

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    Geoff Haddock, Cardiff University, UK

    I purchased MediaLab and DirectRT after receiving positive recommendations from a number of colleagues. When I started using the software I was surprised by the short amount of time required to feel comfortable with the interface. Since then, my lab has used MediaLab and DirectRT for many different types of studies, and we continue to be impressed by its ease, scope, and flexibility. In addition, my students particularly like the way data are saved - they find that it really simplifies the move from data collection to analysis. Finally, the support (if needed) is superb. When I did have a query about the program, Empirisoft was very quick to respond with the necessary information.

    Geoff Haddock,
    Cardiff University, United Kingdom

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    Mary Alt, University of Arizona

    Overall, I think DirectRT is a fantastic product. The software is easy to use, versatile, and the customer support is outstanding. The program itself offers ample help with examples, sample programs, and text, so there are various methods to solve problems. When I do e-mail customer service, I typically get a response within 24 hours. Empirisoft customer service helped me design solutions to my particular needs and they were incredibly helpful. In the past, I used a different experiment-building program. It was slow, difficult to navigate, couldn't organize files well, and was simply limited in the amount of information that could be included (text, video, images, sound, animation, etc.) The customer service for the other program was polite, but seemed like it was limited by the many constraints of the software. With DirectRT, I was able to run twice as many studies in half the time. The programming was easy to learn, and it was possible to incorporate all kinds of media. The program allowed me to organize hundreds of files with ease. The cost of the program was very reasonable. I highly recommend this software!

    Mary Alt,
    University of Arizona

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    Markus Denzler, International University Bremen

    With MediaLab/DirectRT, a truly straightforward device which does not require elaborated technical knowledge finally has become available for researchers. With this truly user friendly program endless opportunities for psychological research are being provided. MediaLab/DirectRT offers a variety of different options making more extensive research and the handling of complex issues possible. With its highly flexible character this program certainly has contributed to facilitating lab research. The positive effect MediaLab/DirectRT also has on the participants and especially the excellent and immediate support offered by the programmer, further contribute to this remarkable flexibility. In addition, MediaLab/DirectRT not only eliminated the extensive waste of paper as well as of other resources, but even more importantly, its automatic storage of data in the appropriate formats like SPSS or Excel enables the attainment of better data while simultaneously saving a lot of time and effort. This program is definitely more than a device; MediaLab/DirectRT marks the beginning of a new era in computerized research…

    Markus Denzler,
    International University Bremen

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    Zachary Estes, University of Georgia

    DirectRT has the potential to simplify the life of any experimenter. As a researcher with no experience in computer programming, but with some complicated experimental requirements, DirectRT has been an invaluable tool for me. It offers great flexibility and precise control, via an intuitive Windows-based interface. Various types of experiments, from ratings of pictorial stimuli to response times of verbal stimuli, can easily be conducted either independently or simultaneously. Learning to use DirectRT is simple and quick. I had programmed my first experiment within 2 or 3 hours of installing the software on my lab computers. The instruction manual is comprehensive, including several easy-to-grasp tutorials, and the experiments can actually be programmed in the familiar Microsoft Excel environment. Technical support from the folks at Empirisoft is speedy, excellent, and personalized--when I encountered a problem I didn't know how to solve, they worked with me to create a solution. And finally, the data are saved in a well-organized manner that facilitates immediate analysis. I do not hesitate to recommend DirectRT to experimenters at all levels of experience.

    Zachary Estes,
    University of Georgia

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    Bryan Cochran, University of Washington

    I am a clinical psychology Ph.D. student, but my interests often require methodology outside of my area of expertise. For my dissertation study, I wanted to create a new Implicit Assumption Task (IAT), but I was daunted by the required programming that I had seen in other software packages. I downloaded a trial version of DirectRT and was amazed at how quickly I was able to get an experiment up and running. DirectRT decreased the amount of time it took to set up my dissertation study substantially, and has provided reliable and accurate data recording throughout my data collection. Any time that I encountered difficulties, they were quickly addressed by Empirisoft (actually, it's more accurate to say immediately, given the fast support turnaround). I would recommend DirectRT to anyone in cognitive/social psychology, but would even more strongly recommend it to those in other areas who have avoided data collection methods that require precision and accurate timing.

    Bryan Cochran,
    University of Washington

  37. #37
    [edited for kindness by moderator :]
    I just started using DirectRT and MediaLab this month, and all I have to say is I love them. If you are using ******* or some other program go throw it in the garbage and buy these programs. You will not be sorry.

    Jason Allaire
    NC-State
    Last edited by jarvis24; 09-27-2007 at 03:26 PM.

  38. #38
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    After all the glowing reports above, a note of dissent is in order. Let's see if Empirisoft dares to keep this in here.

    Shortcomings of DirectRT include:
    • Cannot do loops. E.g., cannot repeat a stimulus or trial an indefinite number of times until the subject gives a correct response (see forum threads support.empirisoft.com/showthread.php?t=975, support.empirisoft.com/showthread.php?t=698).
    • Cannot do arithmetic. E.g., cannot halve a stimulus parameter on response success, and double it on failure, in order to derive a threshold value. (And do not even imagine using anything like Maximum Likelihood Estimation for adjusting stimulus parameters during the experiment.)
    • Cannot process strings.
    • Cannot draw. E.g., cannot draw a circle of arbitrary diameter calculated during the experiment.
    • Cannot stop sound playback once started (User's Guide 3.12, p. 30).
    • Displays a blank, black screen during every intertrial interval (see forum thread support.empirisoft.com/showthread.php?t=37).
    Shortcomings aside, DirectRT clearly remains a superior platform for a select class of experimental psychology researchers engaged in a select subset of psychological work. But for many others, DirectRT will not do at all. Fortunately, plenty of other products will. Despite the banner on Empirisoft's web site, DirectRT is *not* THE way to do computer research. If your experimental designs by their nature entail any sort of computational complexity, you will need to look beyond DirectRT.

    David McFarlane, Systems Designer
    Dept. Psychology, Michigan State University

    (Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of my employer or anyone else associated with me.)
    Last edited by jarvis24; 11-09-2010 at 02:44 PM.

  39. #39
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    David, thanks for taking the time to provide a thoughtful review. And although I altered the formatting here and there, your review has not been censored in any way. Fwiw, we are working on adding the kinds of features you have mentioned--all great ideas. And thanks for the kind words--I did find them!!

  40. #40
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    I have been using DirectRT and MediaLab for several experiments, and I have had a very positive experience. Thank you for putting together these excellent pieces of software. The main thing that stands out to me is the intuitive interface (particularly for MediaLab) combined with flexibility and functionality. I hope to continue using your products for many more years. Thank you!

  41. #41
    Overall, I have been quite impressed with MediaLab. I have only had experience with one other software package for conducting experiments (xxxxxxxxx) and I have to say that MediaLab is a much more sophisticated software package and extremely user friendly. http://#e##o#.com

    [Note from moderator: With some regret, The URL here has been edited and the poster has been banned for spam content. But with some joy, the post will remain. After years of deleting 1000's of spam posts this is the first I've ever seen where the spammer was so polite as to actually include (ok, plagiarize) a positive review of MediaLab. Thank you Shomam--if only all SPAM were as pleasant as yours ]
    Last edited by jarvis24; 04-25-2011 at 04:43 PM.

  42. #42
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    I find the software (both MediaLab and DirectRT) to be extremely user friendly. The software has been instrumental in reducing the amount of time required to program complex experiments. Customer support is exceptional. Blair is strongly committed to producing a quality product that is both user friendly and readily meets the experimental needs of his clients.

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