I am running a language production study, and I want to collect reaction times. I am considering getting a button box, because I understand that my laptop (macbook pro) keyboard is not precise enough for many reaction time studies. I am looking for recommendations for a relatively inexpensive button box.

  • $\begingroup$ I am hoping to use pyschopy for this experiment. I don't believe that the computer I want to use has a serial port. I could use either my macbook pro laptop or a desktop mac (not sure what the specs are). $\endgroup$
    – nberlove
    Feb 18, 2014 at 17:37

1 Answer 1


First off, what button-box you use is going to be influenced by what software you're using to run the experiment, so ideally you should specify that.

  • The PST serial response box is probably the industry standard, and is what we have in my lab, although a lot of that is probably down to it coming from the makers of EPrime. EPrime doesn't work on OSX though, and the PST box isn't cheap, so you might want to consider...

  • Neil Stewart has done some work on building your own accurate button boxes. I haven't tried this myself, but if you are, or know someone who is, up to the technical challenge, this could be helpful.

    • Caveat: The paper describes how to do it on Linux. It almost definitely wouldn't work on Windows, but OSX and Linux are pretty similar deep down.

    • Caveat #2: Do Macbooks have serial ports?

When I started writing this, I thought I knew of other, cheaper makers or SR boxes. Apparently I imagined that.


Whatever you end up doing, make sure you also take a look at How can I create computer based psychology experiments using OS X?.


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