Habit2 documentation

Habit2 (short for habituation) is a software package for the presentation of visual and auditory stimuli to infants and recording looking time (via an observer) to those stimuli. In general, this software is flexible and provides a platform for researchers to conduct infant looking time experiments (e.g., habituation, visual preference, violation of expectation) with visual and auditory stimuli. Researchers can design experiments with still images, movies, sounds, or some combination, as stimuli. The stimuli can be presented on one, two, or three monitors. Stimuli can be presented for a fixed duration or until some criterion is met (e.g., the infant has looked for a specified amount of time, the infant looks away from the stimulus for a specified amount of time). The experiment must involve 1 phase, but may include as many phases as needed by the experimenter. Phases differ in the way trials are defined, how many trials are required to complete the phase, and the particular stimuli presented in the phase.

A wide range of experimental designs is possible with this program. For example, this program can be used to run paired preference experiments, in which infants are presented with the same number of trials; all of the same length, with two stimuli, and their preference (looking time) for the stimuli is recorded. This program also can be used to run familiarization-test experiments, in which a fixed number of trials is presented during the habituation phase followed by test trials. Finally, this program can be used to run habituation experiments in which the familiarization stimuli are presented until infants’ looking reaches some criterion specified in the program. Then the test trials are presented. Other configurations are possible depending on the experiment design.

When using the program to run habituation procedures, there are several ways habituation can be defined, or the criteria that are used to determine the end of the habituation phase. When defining a criterion window, the program allows the experimenter to select the number of trials used in the window, whether the criterion window is based on the first or the window with the longest looking, whether the criterion is based on sliding (or overlapping) windows or fixed (or non-overlapping) windows.

The program incorporates several features that will facilitate using it to conduct experiments. Experimental settings are store and can be reused for multiple subjects. You can specify lists of stimuli to be used for different subjects.

In this update, results may be exported to Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, or to an ASCII text file.

This version of the software is an updated version of Habit2000 and HabitX, which was originally developed and distributed by Dr. Les Cohen of the University of Texas. The new version was developed under the direction of Dr. Lisa Oakes at UC Davis, and can be run on intel-based macs and is compatible with mac operating systems 10.10 and above. A windows version is in Beta and will soon be available for broad release.

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