X-Flash #9 Jan 06

Xlab News

Xlab “To Go”

"The Xlab has begun developing a new, high-mobility capability to enable investigators to run experiments in remote locations. In December, Xlab Research Director Julian Jamison and SysAdmin Lawrence Sweet tested this "Xlab To-Go” in the wilds of ..... Los Angeles. Using handheld PCs, which look like PDAs (complete with stylus) but function like mini-laptops, Jamison designed experiments to test the effect of sleep deprivation on economic decision-making. He used the most quintessentially sleep-deprived subjects known: medical residents working in a hospital Emergency Room at the end of a night shift! Jamison and Sweet got to the hospital at 4 a.m. and had the residents (after completing some paperwork) play interactive games on their individual handhelds as well as make decisions about risky gambles and intertemporal choice. Each subject spent less than 30 minutes completing all the tasks, and the data was automatically collected so that they could be paid their earnings almost immediately. We envision the usefulness of these devices to extend anywhere from sociological focus groups to analyzing risk perceptions of low-SES adolescents (whether they be in Hunter's Point or Harare). Let us know if you think your own research might benefit from this new capability." .

More Demographic Information on Subjects

Under the revised Xlab Master Protocol, the Xlab will begin collecting more extensive demographic information from people registering for the Xlab's subject pool:  status (student/staff), age, gender, race/ethnicity, GPA, language ability (native English or not), length of residence in the U.S. [This will also be done retrospectively for those already registered.]  This will now allow Investigators to pre-screen subjects on a number of demographic criteria, making it more efficient to get subjects with the desired characteristics.  

Software for Experiments

New on the Xlab website is a list of relevant software programs for running experiments. For each program, we specify whether it has previously been used in an Xlab experiment or not; whether it is free or already under license to us; whether or not it is web-based and/or network-compatible; and so on. We also provide links to the homepages for each program. As this resource develops, we will start providing actual code for previous experiments run in the Xlab; in the meantime we can put you in touch with researchers who have successfully used each of them. As always, we can also provide a list of grad students 'for hire' to help with programming.

For more information, check out the Xlab web site at xlab.berkeley.edu or contact us