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People with experience using MATLAB in the realm of psychology...please help!


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Hey guys, my SO will be purchasing MATLAB in the very near future to start getting comfortable with it before the Fall (he has never used it before). He will be purchasing the Student License, which comes with the following items:

MATLAB, Simulink, Control System Toolbox, Simulink Control Design, Image Processing Toolbox, Optimization Toolbox, Signal Processing Toolbox, DSP System Toolbox, Statistics and Machine Learning Toolbox, Symbolic Math Toolbox, Data Acquisition Toolbox and Instrument Control Toolbox.

Is there anything that he should purchase in addition to the Toolboxes above that you have found useful when using this system? I would appreciate any insight from people with experience using MATLAB in the context of Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience, in particular, if that makes a difference). Thank you :)

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It doesn't need purchasing, but he should get PsychToolbox as well! It's free to download and it helps with creating experiments.

Link: http://psychtoolbox.org/

If he's doing working memory studies, specifically continuous-report studies, he can look into using some models of measuring working memory performance (like precision, the probability of swapping, responding correctly, and guessing. The code can be found here:


If he doesn't do that kind of work, disregard the second part!


Also, I took a great course on programming (an intro class) on Coursera that used Matlab. It's not psych research specific, but if he wants a crash course in the basic stuff, it's pretty good:

Link: https://www.coursera.org/course/matlab

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For most stuff that I've dealt with in neuroscience the student license is more than enough. That's specially true in his case since he's never used it, so the next 4 months will be spent getting comfortable with the basics and such (getting comfortable, as you say).

Does his lab use Matlab? I know many labs are shifting to an all-Python workshop. Also, I agree with the above: Psychtoolbox would be useful. If he's doing neuroimaging, playing around with SPM12 and batching processes would be a good exercise later on.

Honestly, Matlab is complex enough to keep you busy for 4 months without ever touching a research toolbox.

I hope that helps a bit.


EDIT: By the way, I do like that Matlab class that @eternallyephemeral posted. I took part of it, and it's great for beginners.

Edited by EveryDay
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Thank you for your help @EveryDay! He doesn't use Matlab in any of the labs he currently works in (in undergrad), however, the program that he will be starting in the Fall suggests that all incoming students become familiar with the basics of Matlab before the beginning of the semester. From what you said, it sounds like the student license will suffice along with PsychToolbox, at least for now!

Edited by FeelTheBern
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  • 5 years later...

Ha ha it is looking like something oxymoron type. So all the toolbox that you have mentioned is already coming under the packaged toolbox of Matlab. In that context, as it is looking that a dialogue box is mission, therefore you can add it based on your choice. otherwise everything is at its place as per the requirement of Matlab. 



Edited by oli123
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