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PsychoPy logo
Developer(s)Jonathan Peirce
Initial release2003
Stable release
1.90.1 / April 2018; 9 months ago (2018-04)
Written inPython
Operating systemCross-platform
LicenseGNU GPL v3+

PsychoPy is an open source software package, written in the Python programming language, for the generation of experiments for neuroscience and experimental psychology.[1][2]

Unlike most packages it provides users with a choice of interface; generate experiments by writing Python scripts or through a graphical interface which will generate a script for them (or by a combination of the two).

Its platform independence is achieved through the use of the wxPython widget library for the application and OpenGL for graphics calls. Psychopy grows in popularity and was started on more than 14,000 different computers in November, 2016.[3]

History and versions[edit]

PsychoPy is continually updated with 5-10 releases each year, containing new features and bug fixes. Here are some major releases in the history of PsychoPy:

  • 2002: PsychoPy was originally written by Peirce as a proof of concept - that a high-level scripting language could generate experimental stimuli in real time (existing solutions, such as Psychtoolbox, had to pre-generate movies or use CLUT animation techniques). The project was initially registered on under the name "psychpy" on 14 March 2002.
  • 2003-2005: this was extended to be able to generate experiments in the author's lab at Nottingham University and made available as an open source project on the internet. At this time PsychoPy was a library (Python package) that could be imported by Python scripts. Installing was complex because of the dependencies.
  • 2006: An editor was added, so that users could use PsychoPy as an 'application' rather than a library
  • April 2009: Version 1.0 released, including all main features of the library (but with some bugs in the win32 installer)
  • September 2009: Version 1.50 released, including various bug fixes to the underlying library and preview of new GUI interface, to become PsychoPy2. This new interface, the Builder view, allowed users to generate a very wide range of experiments without a knowledge of programming.
  • April 2011: Used for both research and undergraduate teaching at various universities. Over 1500 users per month worldwide.[4] Still at Version 1.64 (not yet v2.00), due to remaining issues especially with the Builder interface.
  • June 2013: Version 1.77 released, including ioHub for faster (asynchronous) polling of hardware.
  • September 2014: Version 1.81 released, including the ability to specify psychopy version in the experiment. Psychopy will then load this version, regardless of the version installed - also future versions.
  • October 2015: Version 1.83 released, including MovieStim3 which provides robust movie playback.
  • March 2018: Version 1.90 released, first version with Python 3 support.

Key people[edit]

There have been many contributors to the project. A complete list of contributors to the code can be found at The main contributors to user support can be seen on the community forum ( A number of the most major contributors are listed below

  • Jonathan Peirce
  • Jeremy Gray
  • Michael MacAskill
  • Sol Simpson
  • Richard Höchenberger
  • David Bridges
  • Jonas Lindeløv
  • Erik Kastman
  • Hiroyuki Sogo
  • Matthew Cutone
  • Damien Mannion
  • Yaroslav Halchenko


  1. ^ Peirce, Jonathan W. (15 May 2007). "PsychoPy—Psychophysics software in Python". Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 162 (1–2): 8–13. doi:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2006.11.017. PMC 2018741. PMID 17254636 – via ScienceDirect. open access publication – free to read
  2. ^ Peirce, Jonathan W. (15 January 2009). "Generating stimuli for neuroscience using PsychoPy". Frontiers in Neuroinformatics. 2: 10. doi:10.3389/neuro.11.010.2008. PMC 2636899. PMID 19198666 – via Frontiers Media. open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ Peirce "'PsychoPy usage", PsychoPy usage, accessed January 29, 2017.
  4. ^ Peirce "'PsychoPy usage", PsychoPy usage, accessed April 26, 2011.

External links[edit]