QRTEngine: An easy solution for running online reaction time experiments using Qualtrics

Jonathan Barnhoorn, Erwin Haasnoot, Bruno R. Bocanegra, Henk van Steenbergen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


Performing online behavioral research is gaining increased popularity among researchers in psychological and cognitive science. However, the currently available methods for conducting online reaction time experiments are often complicated and typically require advanced technical skills. In this article, we introduce the Qualtrics Reaction Time Engine (QRTEngine), an open-source JavaScript engine that can be embedded in the online survey development environment Qualtrics. The QRTEngine can be used to easily develop browser-based online reaction time experiments with accurate timing within current browser capabilities, and it requires only minimal programming skills. After introducing the QRTEngine, we briefly discuss how to create and distribute a Stroop task. Next, we describe a study in which we investigated the timing accuracy of the engine under different processor loads using external chronometry. Finally, we show that the QRTEngine can be used to reproduce classic behavioral effects in three reaction time paradigms: a Stroop task, an attentional blink task, and a masked-priming task. These findings demonstrate that QRTEngine can be used as a tool for conducting online behavioral research even when this requires accurate stimulus presentation times.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-929
JournalBehavior research methods
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2015


  • METIS-306696
  • IR-92784


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