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Lexical Decision Task

Hi! I am new to opensesame, I have watched tutorials and used the manual guides to create the lexical decision task. However, the sample LDT includes the options of word_response and non_word_response.

For my experiment, I was wondering whether it's possible to include more variables? E.g. positive, negative, neutral, taboo. I can't seem to find any information on this and when I try to implement the extra variables on opensesame there is an error. Can anyone help identify what the issue is?

Thank you!


  • Hi Stephanie,

    Can anyone help identify what the issue is?

    If you provide more info, we certainly can help, but at the moment that is not possible.

    For my experiment, I was wondering whether it's possible to include more variables?

    No problem at all! Just a matter of the correct implementation.


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  • edited May 2022

    Yes of course! I will post some screenshots. I'm feeling out of my element with all of this; I'm not sure where I went wrong.

    When I click to run the experiment, I then get an error (I was also thinking of adding another category for non-words to remove any yes-press bias).

    Thank you for having a look! :)

  • Hey,

    A few screenshots are not enough to diagnose the problem. Could you share your experiment, or explain in words (and sufficient detail), what you tried and at which stage things started to break?


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  • So for my experiment, I'm researching the reaction times that young adults have when presented with positive, negative, neutral, and taboo words. I've used nouns such as Happiness (positive), Sadness (negative) and concrete nouns for neutral words such as Lamp. For the Taboo words, I'm planning on using psychiatric terms such as depression. I have a word list of around 50 words in total. I decided on using a lexical decision task as it will record the precise reaction times of the participants. However, the problem I ran into is when I was allocating keys to the positive-neutral-negative-taboo categories e.g. 'z' or 'm' it showed an error.

    I filled out the word list and categorised positive-negative-neutral-taboo words (in one of the screenshots) and when I clicked run experiment the keys which I had allocated to each category were not corresponding when I ran the experiment. Im not sure if it went wrong with the counterbalance tab. I also tried to input on counterbalance the following:

    if (vars.subject_parity === "even") {

    vars. positive = "z"

    vars. negative ="m"

    vars.neutral = "l"

    vars. taboo = "a"

    } else {

    vars. positive = "m" "l" "a"

    vars. negative = "z" "a" "l"

    vars. neutral = "a" "z" "m"

    vars. taboo = "l" "m" "z"

    I'm not sure about the sequence of keys in the second section i.e. m, l, a and if the format is incorrect

  • FabFab
    edited May 2022

    Hi @Stephanie145,

    The error message should give you a good idea of what is going wrong. What error message do you get? My guess is that it says that some of your variables are not defined.

    The code you shared contains spaces between vars. and the variable name where it should not. That is, vars. positive="z" should be vars.positive="m".

    There may be other issues with hour task, but that's all I can see as an obvious one based on what you shared. Feel free to upload your task in this forum so that we can have a look.

    Incidentally, the code you inserted in your message (e.g., vars. positive = "m" "l" "a") won't work. A variable cannot be equal to three values at the same time nor does it accept arguments in this manner. If you have four keys and want a complete counterbalancing of these across subjects, subject parity is not going to cut it. With four keys, you have a total of 4!=24 combinations (without repetitions). Hence, if you want to counterbalance the response keys, you'd have to program the value of the correct response key based on the subject number but using a MOD function based on the value 24 (see an example of application of MOD to the subject number here: If you plan to run the experiment online, you won't be able to make sure that each combination of keys is used as often as any other.

    An alternative option, in your case, would be to allocate the keys at random using some coding.

    Hope this helps,


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  • Thank you Fabrice!

  • Hi @Stephanie145,

    Glad this was helpful. Has removing the spaces in your code solved the problem?



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