Running studies online

In 2016 we wrote a proof-of-principle that PsychoPy could generate studies for online use. In January 2018 we began a Wellcome Trust grant to develop it fully. This is what we call PsychoPy3 - the 3rd major phase of PsychoPy’s development.

The key steps to this are basically to:

  • export your experiment to JavaScript, ready to run online
  • upload it to to be launched
  • distribute the web address (URL) needed to run the study

Information on how to carry out those steps is below, as well as technical information regarding the precision, about how the project actually works, and about the status of the work.


Creating an account on Pavlovia

To create and log in to your account on Pavlovia, you will need an active internet connection. If you have not created your account, you can either 1) go to Pavlovia and create your account, or 2) click the login button highlighted in Figure 1, and create an account through the dialog box. Once you have an account on Pavlovia, check to see that you are logged in via Builder by clicking button (4) highlighted below, in Figure 1.

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Figure 1. PsychoPy 3 Builder icons for building and running online studies

Creating projects and uploading to

Creating your project repository is your first step to running your experiment from Pavlovia. To create your project, first make sure that you have an internet connection and are logged in to Pavlovia. Once you are logged in create your project repository by syncing your project with the server using button (1) in Figure 1.

A dialog box will appear, informing you that your .psyexp file does not belong to an existing project. Click “Create a project” if you wish to create a project, or click “Cancel” if you wish to return to your experiment in Builder. See Figure 2.

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Figure 2. The dialog that appears when an online project does not exist.

If you clicked the “Create a project” button, another window will appear. This window is designed to collect important metadata about your project, see Figure 3 below.

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Figure 3. Dialog for creating your project on

Use this window to add information to store your project on Pavlovia:

Name: This is the name of your project on Pavlovia
Group/Owner: The user or group to upload the project
Local folder: The (local) project path on your computer. Use the Browse button to find your local directory, if required.
Description: Describe your experiment – similar to the readme files used for describing PsychoPy experiments.
Tags (comma separated): The tag will be used to filter and search for experiments by key words.
Public: Tick this box if you would like to make your repository public, for anyone to see.

When you have completed all fields in the Project window, click “Create project on Pavlovia” button to push your experiment up to the online repository. Click “Cancel” if you wish to return to your experiment in Builder.

Viewing your experiment on

After you have uploaded your project to Pavlovia via Builder, you can go and have a look at your project online. To view your project, go to From the Pavlovia home page, you can explore your own existing projects, or other users public projects that have been made available to all users. To find your study, click the Explore tab on the home page (see Figure 4)

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Figure 4. The Pavlovia home page

When exploring studies online, you are presented with a series of thumbnail images for all of the projects on Pavlovia. See Figure 5.

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Figure 5. Exploring projects on Pavlovia

From the “Explore” page, you can filter projects by setting the filter buttons to a) Public or Private, B) Active or Inactive, and C) sort by number of forks, name, date and number of stars. The default sorting method is Stars. You can also search for projects using the search tool using key words describing your area of interest, e.g., Stroop, or attention.

When you have found your project, you have several options (see Figure 6).

1) Run your task from the Pavlovia server
2) Activate or deactivate your experiment
3) view your project code and resources on the Pavlovia repository via Gitlab repository.
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Figure 6. Projects on Pavlovia

Running your experiment on from Builder

If you wish to run your experiment online, in a web-browser, you have two options. You can run your experiment directly from, as described above, or you can run your experiment directly from Builder. (There is also the option to send your experiment URL – more on that later in Recruitment Pools).

To run your experiment on Pavlovia via Builder, you must first ensure you have a valid internet connection, are logged in, and have created a repository for your project on Pavlovia. Once you have completed these steps, simply click button (2) in the Builder frame, as shown in Figure 1 above.

Searching for experiments from Builder

If you wish to search for your own existing projects on Pavlovia, or other users public projects, you can do this via the Builder interface. To search for a project, click button (3) on the Builder Frame in Figure 1. Following this, a search dialog will appear, see Figure 7. The search dialog presents several options that allow users to search, fork and synchronize projects.

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Figure 7. The search dialog in Builder

To search for a project (see Fig 7, Box A), type in search terms in the text box and click the “Search” button to find related projects on Pavlovia. Use the search filters (e.g., “My group”, “Public” etc) above the text box to filter the search output. The output of your search will be listed in the search panel below the search button, where you can select your project of interest.

To fork and sync a project is to take your own copy of a project from Pavlovia (fork) and copy a version to your local desktop or laptop computer (sync). To fork a project, select the local folder to download the project using the “Browse” button, and then click “Sync” when you are ready - (see Fig 7, Box B). You should now have a local copy of the project from Pavlovia ready to run in PsychoPy!

Now you can run your synced project online from Pavlovia!








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