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Introduction to Experiment Building with Open Sesame, 2021-2022


Semester 1, 2021-2022

Type of course

Methodological and Practical Courses


January 20 and January 21, 2022




2 days

Maximum number of participants



0.5 EC will be appointed for participation in the complete course


Dr. Eduard Ort

Modern psychological science relies heavily on computerized experiments. Furthermore, being able to program one’s own experiments (with free and easy-to-understand software) provides researchers with freedom, independence, and flexibility. Therefore, this workshop will introduce students to building their own experiments by using OpenSesame (Mathot, Schreij, & Theeuwes, 2012). 
OpenSesame is a free program for easy development of behavioral experiments for (social) psychology for offline and online use. In the first part of the workshop, I will give a brief summary of OpenSesame generally, before we will create a simple but complete psychological experiment (a gazecuing task). In the second part of the workshop, we will explore the possibilities to create simple, but powerful questionnaires in Opensesame. On the second day, we will create a somewhat more complex psychological experiment, i.e., an implicit association task (IAT) and, in the final part of the workshop, we will extend this IAT by adding some additional experimental factors.

Preliminary Program 
Day 1 
08:30-09:00 Walk-in & installation support 
09:00-11:00 Introduction to OpenSesame: Creating a gaze-cuing experiment 
11:00-11:15 Break 
11:15-13:00 Tutorial on creating simple questionnaires 

Day 2
09:00-09:45 Evaluation of homework; Q&A about first day 
09:45-09:50 Break 
09:50-11:15 Creating an implicit-association task 
11:15-11:30 Break 
11:30-13:00 Extending the implicit-association task 

Learning goals
- Learning OpenSesame as a free and easy-to-use program to build experiments and to run them either in the lab, in the field, or online. This refers to all kinds of experimental designs, including experiments in the field of social, organizational and applied psychology.
- Familiarizing with the use of OpenSesame by building example experiments 
- Understand how forms can be used to build questionnaires 
- Knowing where and how to download the software, ask for help, and use the dedicated documentation. 

In preparation for the workshop, students are asked to download and install the latest version of OpenSesame on their computers. Please be aware, that the online character of this workshop makes it quite hard to troubleshoot any issues. Therefore, I strongly encourage participants to set up OpenSesame well before the course starts. This is particularly true for Mac users! In the days before the course, I will also be able to provide support via email. Note that there are different ways to install Opensesame. If one way does not work, you could try another one. 

Download links and instructions can be found here: 
Other than making sure the software is correctly installed, no preparations are needed. The keen participant, can already get a head start on the tutorial: 

Mathôt, S., Schreij, D., & Theeuwes, J. (2012). OpenSesame: An open-source, graphical experiment builder for the social sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 44, 1–314–324.