Tutorial 1: How To Test A Participant

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These instructions show how you can test both adults and children. For a downloadable version, click here.

Contents

Preliminary

Download Panamath and install it.

The program should open with a start screen. Enter the age of the participant and the time of the test. To set other parameters such as results file location, subject id, display parameters, dot colors, click on "Set Advanced Options."

Click "Start Experiment."

Next, explain the task to the subject.

Verbal Instructions (Ages 3 -7)

Use the following instructions when testing children using Sesame Street Characters.

[point to BB on side of screen] "Who is this?" if kid says BB: "That's right." if kid doesn't know: "This is Big Bird."

[same with G]

"This is BB's box. And BB will have some dots in his box." [point to box on BB's side of the screen] "And this is G's box. And G will have some dots in his box." [point to box on G's side of the screen] "Your job is to tell me if BB has more dots [point to BB's box] or if G has more dots [point to G's box]." "Let's practice a little so you see how this game works."

[if practice shows dots separately]: "These are BB's dots [point to them as they appear] and these are G's dots [point to them as they appear]. Does BB have more dots or does G have more dots?"

[if practice shows them simultaneously]: "Does BB have more dots or does G have more dots?"

[after child has responded]: "Great! Ready to try some more?"

[give kid feedback during practice, but not during actual test]

Verbal Instructions (Ages 7-13)

Use the following instructions when testing children.

"This is a fast number game. Here's how it goes. You're going to see a bunch of dots flash on the screen really quickly. There will be yellow dots and blue dots. They're going to be all mixed up together, and they can be different sizes.

After the dots disappear, your job is to decide whether there were more YELLOW dots or more BLUE dots. If you think there were more yellow, press this key here." (INDICATE) "And if you think there were more blue, press this key here." (INDICATE) [optional: if you think the child cannot press the buttons, they can just say the name after each trial and the experimenter can press the buttons. We find that most children, even at three years old, can press the buttons themselves if the buttons are marked with colored tape, such as yellow and blue.]

"Remember, the dots are going to be flashed too quickly to count, so just give your best guess which color has more. They never have the same number; one always has more. So even if you're not sure, give your best guess.

"When you're ready to try one, press this spacebar."

[after child has pressed space bar to initiate practice trial #1]: "Did you see the dots? Which did you think had more, yellow or blue?"

[after child has responded]: "Great! Ready to try some more?"

(PRACTICE PROBLEMS, typically 2-10, FOLLOWED BY EXPERIMENTAL PROBLEMS, typically 11-80)

(OPTIONAL: IF A CHILD WISHES TO CORRECT HIS/HER RESPONSE AFTER HAVING PRESSED ONE OF THE KEYS, THEY MAY INDICATE THIS TO THE EXPERIMENTER WHO WILL RECORD THE CHILD'S REVISED ANSWER ON THE SCORE SHEET. WE TYPICALLY DO NOT TELL CHILDREN THIS AS IT CONFUSES THEM AND CORRECTIONS ARE VERY RARE.)

Verbal Instructions (Ages 14 and older)

Use the following instructions when testing adults.

"You're going to see lots of dots flash on the screen really quickly. There will be yellow dots and blue dots. They're going to be all mixed up together, and they can be different sizes.

After the dots disappear, your job is to decide if there were more YELLOW dots or more BLUE dots. If you think there were more yellow, press this key here." (INDICATE 'f' key) "And if you think there were more blue, press this key here." (INDICATE 'j' key)

"You should try to ignore the variation in the dot sizes, and they should not be the basis of your answer. Answer only 'more yellow' or 'more blue' based on the number of the dots, not on their sizes. The dots are going to be flashed too quickly to count, and trying to count verbally from memory typically results in worse performance than just using your first best impression.

Give your best guess as to which color has more using your first impression from looking at the scene as a whole. Blue and yellow never have the same number; one always has more. Even if you're not sure, give your best guess. There are (READ NUMBER FROM GRAY START SCREEN) trials and it will take you about 8 minutes. Press the spacebar to begin each trial. You can take a break anytime you like by simply not pressing the spacebar.

"When you're ready to try one, press this spacebar."

Variations

We typically cover the 'f' key with yellow tape and the 'j' key with blue tape. The key assignments can be changed (e.g., to 'y' and 'b'), and they can also interface with a button box if necessary. Also, the subject can just shout out an answer and the experimenter presses the button. Reaction time is recorded but typically not needed.

See also

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