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Experimentation I: Programming Psychological Experiments


Entry requirements

Only open to MSc Psychology (research) students


In this course, you will learn how to design and implement psychological experiments using the programming language Python and the software package OpenSesame. At the end of this course, you will be able to program your own psychological experiments, an essential skill for students who aim to pursue a Ph.D. in Psychology after their Master's. More generally, the coding skills you learn are beneficial to many jobs in this digital age, also outside academia.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the student can:

  • read and customise fundamental commands and statements used in Python code effectively

  • program psychological experiments using the graphical user interface of OpenSesame

  • implement advanced features of psychological experiments using basic Python code in OpenSesame


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.


You must register for each exam in My Studymap at least 10 days before the exam date. You cannot take an exam without a valid registration in My Studymap. Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Mode of instruction

The course consists of:

  • 10 2-hour lectures and 10 2-hour practical sessions

Assessment method

The final mark for the course is based on the weighted average (i.e. 30:70) of the following 2 units of assessment:
1. Group assignment to write Python code halfway the course
2. Programming an experiment using Python code in OpenSesame within a time limit (of 3 hours), at the end of the course.

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. All students are required to take and pass the Scientific Integrity Test with a score of 100% in order to learn about the practice of integrity in scientific writing. Students are given access to the quiz via a module on Brightspace. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

Course material will be (made) available online.

Contact information

Dr. Henk van Steenbergen