The Internet As Psychology Lab

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
4:10 pm to 5:30 pm
210 South Hall
Todd Gureckis

For over a century, psychologists have studied the basic mechanisms of human behavior in the quiet, controlled laboratories maintained on university campuses. However, we are currently in the midst of a revolution whereby the Internet is now "The Lab” for many behavioral scientists. Conducting high-quality science experiments online introduces a number of new technical, ethical, and scientific challenges. My talk will first present empirical work comparing the quality of data obtained online to that of the traditional psychology laboratory. Next, I will describe an open-source platform I lead called psiTurk. psiTurk aims to reduce the technical hurdles for researchers developing online experiments while improving the transparency and collaborative nature of the behavioral sciences. I will conclude by arguing that we are only in the “first wave” of utilizing the Internet as a psychology lab, and will describe some possibilities for the next generation of Internet-based methodologies that move beyond over-utilized micro-payment platforms like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

Todd Gureckis is an associate professor of psychology at New York University. He received a B.S. in computer/electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Indiana University before starting his current position. Todd’s research explores how it is that people are so smart and computers are not (or vice versa). Learn more at his lab webpage.

Last updated:

March 26, 2015