DPTE – the blog!

Dynamic Process Tracing Environment User Discussion


Yesterday evening DPTE version 2.4 was rolled out. For those of you in the middle of studies, you should see no effects of this update. If you do find something acting oddly please contact us right away.

This update adds to our developing set of “social experiment” functions. The idea is that you will be able to mimic a social environment, including “sharing” stimulus items between subjects, recording “likes” and “dislikes” of items, as well as other reactions you would like to record, and most importantly, allowing subjects to actually comment on items and to have those comment recorded and visible to other subjects, much like the way a blog posting develops. This latter function is not yet in place, but will be added soon with the next update.

To see the changes, look at the “Experiment Setup” screen dashboard. There is a “Social Experiment Options” section under “Settings”, where you can see both the features we had already added and the new ones.  We think these options are fairly self-explanatory. (And we should note that the online documentation for DPTE has not yet been updated to reflect these changes, so you may have to experiment a bit.)

You can now designate individual stimulus items as “shareable” which then shows the new features to the subject. Once an item is shareable, the buttons appear allowing the subject to “share” it. When the button is clicked, a counter records the click, so you get counts of the number of times any subject in your experiment wanted to share the item. In fact, it is more flexible than that, because you can name the “social buttons” anything you’d like – for example, you can have buttons that say “share” or “like” or “hate” or whatever…

There are options to show the “click counts” on opened Shareable Items, and/or on the Flow Panel itself for a Shareable Item. The “click counts” of course are the total times clicked for each button, for each item, in a given Experiment (across all Subjects).

You can see these in the DEMO EXPERIMENT (#135) that you have access to if you want to look at the settings without modifying your own experiment.

Currently  Share-ability only applies to Stimulus Items. On the Stimulus Item screen, there is a button “modify social” (the button and the resulting window are in “Beta” — it will be hidden in the future if the Experiment isn’t designated as Social) in which you can see the Button Click Counts for that Stimulus Item. You can modify these values in case you want to set them back to 0, or “seed” them with a certain number of initial clicks, for example.

This window will contain Comment options when those are finished (i.e., the ability to view comments, add “fake” comments). We will extend these capabilities as needed. On the Player side, users will have the option to read comments and add their own, if comments are enabled for Shareable Items.

When the Commenting basics are finished and that version deployed (2.5, by the end of this month), our team will need to work on some User Documentation for the Social features. Initially we may put a page or two on the FAQ before creating a more in-depth explanation, expanding on the FAQ already available at http://dpte.polisci.uiowa.edu/dpte/pages/faq.jsp#social.

We are excited about these new features and the potential they open up for broadening studies using DPTE. Stay tuned for more!

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