nl en

Experimentation I: Programming Psychological Experiments


Entry requirements

Only open to MSc Psychology (research) students


In this course, you will learn how to design psychological experiments and how to implement these using the Python programming language and the OpenSesame software package. 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

This course will enable students:

  • To learn the elementary commands and statements used in the programming language Python;

  • To understand how to use Python code in OpenSesame to program psychological experiments;

  • To learn how to use Python for basic preprocessing of behavioral data.


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.


It is mandatory for all students to register for each exam and to confirm registration for each exam in My Studymap. This is possible up to and including 10 calendar days prior to the examination. You cannot take an exam without a valid pre-registration and confirmation 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:

  • 14 3-hour practical sessions

Assessment method

The final mark for the course is based on the weighted average (i.e. 40:60) of the following 2 units of assessment:
1. Weekly assignments to program Python code (approximately 4-10 lines).
2. Programming an experiment using Python code in OpenSesame and providing code for basic behavioral analysis within a time limit (of 3 hours).

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. 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