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Using mouse cursor tracking to investigate online cognition: Preserving methodological ingenuity while moving toward reproducible science.

  • Author(s): Schoemann, Martin
  • O'Hora, Denis
  • Dale, Rick
  • Scherbaum, Stefan
  • et al.

Mouse cursor tracking has become a prominent method for characterizing cognitive processes, used in a wide variety of domains of psychological science. Researchers have demonstrated considerable ingenuity in the application of the approach, but the methodology has not undergone systematic analysis to facilitate the development of best practices. Furthermore, recent research has demonstrated effects of experimental design features on a number of mousetracking outcomes. We conducted a systematic review of the mouse-tracking literature to survey the reporting and spread of mouse variables (Cursor speed, Sampling rate, Training), physical characteristics of the experiments (Stimulus position, Response box position) and response requirements (Start procedure, Response procedure, Response deadline). This survey reveals that there is room for improvement in reporting practices, especially of subtler design features that researchers may have assumed would not impact research results (e.g., Cursor speed). We provide recommendations for future best practices in mouse-tracking studies and consider how best to standardize the mouse-tracking literature without excessively constraining the methodological flexibility that is essential to the field.

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