Send to

Choose Destination
PeerJ. 2015 Jul 23;3:e1058. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1058. eCollection 2015.

Conducting perception research over the internet: a tutorial review.

Author information

Crossmodal Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford , United Kingdom ; Xperiment , Surrey , United Kingdom.
Crossmodal Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford , United Kingdom.
Department of Cognitive Science, Occidental College , Los Angeles , USA.
Tsinghua University , Beijing , China.


This article provides an overview of the recent literature on the use of internet-based testing to address important questions in perception research. Our goal is to provide a starting point for the perception researcher who is keen on assessing this tool for their own research goals. Internet-based testing has several advantages over in-lab research, including the ability to reach a relatively broad set of participants and to quickly and inexpensively collect large amounts of empirical data, via services such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk or Prolific Academic. In many cases, the quality of online data appears to match that collected in lab research. Generally-speaking, online participants tend to be more representative of the population at large than those recruited for lab based research. There are, though, some important caveats, when it comes to collecting data online. It is obviously much more difficult to control the exact parameters of stimulus presentation (such as display characteristics) with online research. There are also some thorny ethical elements that need to be considered by experimenters. Strengths and weaknesses of the online approach, relative to others, are highlighted, and recommendations made for those researchers who might be thinking about conducting their own studies using this increasingly-popular approach to research in the psychological sciences.


Citizen science; Haxe; Internet-based testing; Mechanical Turk; Perception; Prolific academic

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PeerJ, Inc. Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center