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Thread: setting up a computerized free-choice paradigm

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    15

    setting up a computerized free-choice paradigm

    Hi,
    I am trying to computerize a free-choice paradigm, and am running into some difficulties... In the free-choice paradigm, participants are given the option of continuing with a task, or doing some other activity - in my case, playing games which are located on the computer (solitaire, etc.). Participants are told that they are finished with the study but have to wait for the computer to receive some information from a server, and that while they are waiting they can either do more of the puzzles they have recently finished (which I have programmed as an html custom file), play solitaire or any of the other games available on the computer, or simply wait. The purpose of this is to see whether they will continue with the target task (puzzles), for how long, and how many additional puzzles they will solve.

    I tried setting it up as a multiple-choice (puzzle, solitaire, minesweep) with a skip-to feature, where selecting one of the games would open that game as an executable file. I also tried to includ a duration so that participants can play their chosen game for a maximum of 10 minutes. When I tried this, it opens the file but immediately afterwards gives me a screen saying "Click the continue button to proceed", and does not allow me to continue unless I press something. If I then close the game program, it leaves me with this screen until the time has elapsed. I would like, if possible, to keep the choice screen on, so that if the participant changes their mind, they can close the game they are playing and click on a different choice, and that the time limit is for the entire task (i.e. from the time they first see the choice message), and not the time they have been playing a specific game. Additionally, if possible, I would like the custom item (which is an html file) to also pop open as a new window, as if it was one of the games, so that the participant can choose to exit it and play something different.

    Thanks in advance for the help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    3,320
    I think I see the problem. Let's see--you would like a multiple response screen up that STAYS up, allowing the subject to click on various tasks but that also allows them to return to the initial choice screen?

    First question--can you use alternative games that are not EXEs (e.g., an HTML solitaire game available on line)? The reason I ask is that if you could find HTML versions of these games you could run all of this perhaps from your single custom HTML item. The trick would be to add links to the other HTML games on your custom item page.

    Before I continue, let me ask--do you need to know what they do while playing the puzzle game, or do you just need to know how long they spend on it? Because if it's the latter, you could just use the WebTracker item type with links to each game--and each game would have its own HTML page with links back to the other games. The WebTracker item type would track how long they spent on each game, the URL tracking history and so on. However, if your custom Puzzle item gathers other data you may need another approach.

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