Institute for Language Sciences Labs


Researcher: Running an Experiment Session in the Babylab (K.11)

Last updated on 26 August 2021 by W.J. Doedens

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This page aims to give you a step-by-step guide to running an experiment session in the Babylab. This specific description applies to the experimental set-up in room K.11, though much of this also applies to the set-up in room K.03A. Instructions on how to make video recordings in K.03A can be found here.

—-  Are you new to the Babylab? Contact Desiree Capel before doing anything else! —–

Step-by-step guide to running an experiment session in the Babylab

Step 1. Before you start

Support and opening hours

  • Read this introduction carefully and follow all the steps.
  • Access to the Babylab is restricted. Contact Desiree Capel for details.
  • You can reserve the facilities in the Babylab through the Online Babylab Reservation system. Contact Desiree Capel for access and details.
  • Read the manual on how to use the Babylab Online Reservation System as a “test leader” (download from here (Dutch) and here (English)).
  • For details on opening hours, see this page.

Storing data

The lab is primarily meant for running experiments; you are expected to do some of your experiment preparation, and all of your data analysis, on computers outside the lab or in room K.06. Use the ILS Labs data server to move your data to other PCs, and to safely store it.

Step 2. The waiting area.

When testing infants, we make use of the waiting area in K.01. Before you start your testing day, open up the waiting area (at least 15 minutes before your first appointment) and make sure it looks clean and inviting. Read the full instructions on how to correctly use the waiting area here. Make sure you have read and fully understood these instructions before you start testing!


Step 3. The experimental room.

The experimental room is where the infant and parent will be seated during the experiment. The equipment in this room is largely hidden behind a large linen ‘tent’.

In the experimental room:

  • Turn on the light switch in the cabin (next to the door). You can adjust the brightness by rotating the switch.
  • (Right before testing) Turn on the light switch (in the far left-hand corner when entering the experimental room) to indicate no use of the bathrooms upstairs.
  • Important: Do not try to go behind the tent as you may mess up the wiring! Instead, if anything is not working, please call lab support.

Step 4. The research area.

The research area is where the researcher will be seated during the experiment.

  • Turn on the switch of the extension cord above the computer screens, to turn on the audio amplifier.
  • The default modus for both computers is Ubuntu (Linux). This is the correct operating system for running ZEP-experiments.
  • Start the computer on the left hand side. Do not start the computer on the right hand side yet
  • Log in with your solis-ID on the computer on the left hand side.
  • Start the computer on the right hand side.
  • Log in with your solis-ID on the computer on the right hand side.
  • Make sure that the button box is in front of the screens.
  • Note: The audio amplifier are all on the shelf above the computer, but should not be modified! If anything is not working, please call lab support.

Step 5. Computer set-up and running the experiment.

Read the research protocol (template can be found here) for the experiment that you are running to find out how to boot the experiment on the computer and how to run the experiment.

Step 6. Finishing the experiment.

  • Stop the experiment
  • Stop the video recording
  • Stop the masking music

Say goodbye to parent & child

  • Walk the parent and child back to the waiting area.
  • Let the child pick a gift that is age appropriate (there are baskets for 4+, 6+, 12+ and 24+ months)
  • Reimburse travel costs (if applicable)
  • Let the parent sign the informed consent form
  • Answer remaining questions and explain what the experiment was about
  • Check whether the parent has filled out all questionnaires. If not, remind them to do so.
  • Thank them and tell them how to get to the exit

Finish the experiment

  • Go back to K.11 and take the signed informed consent with you. Keep the signed informed consents in your personal paper folder in K.11 (do not leave them in the waiting area!).
  • Left computer: back up the video file (which is saved in your local ‘video’ folder) to your project folder and/or an external USB. Rename the file so that it contains the participant number.
  • Right computer: In the terminal, type ‘zepdbextract’ (when using ZEP1) or ‘zepdb2extract’ (when using ZEP2). Two .csv files will be created in your local experiment folder. Give these files a unique name and copy them to your project folder and/or an external USB. Local folders are emptied every once in a while, so if you do not back up your data to another drive, it won’t be safe!!
  • Complete the test session in the Babylab Online Reservation System (more information about this: read the test leader manual).
  • Clean up any toys/garbage, also in the waiting area!
  • Switch off the computers and lights (don’t forget the toilet light in the test room!). Turn off the extension cord by pushing the red button to switch off the amplifiers.