RetroPsychoKinesis Experiment Log Format

The Experiment Log Request Form allows you to retrieve the log in “raw” form, allowing independent analysis of the raw experimental data as captured. The log file is an ASCII comma-separated-value (CSV) file; many spreadsheet programs can import this format, facilitating analysis without the need to write special-purpose programs.

The following table describes the contents of the individual fields in each log record. If the first character of a field is a single quote (') or double quote (") character, the field is a quoted string terminating with a like quote character, with any of the special characters “'”, “"”, and “\” escaped by a backslash (\).

Field Description
1 Log format
2 1 = Live data, 0 = Internal debug (ignore)
3 Experiment name
4 Mode (Practice/Record)
5 Goal
6 Sound enabled?
7 Subject identity
8 Subject's IP address (suppressed)
9 Subject's host name (suppressed)
10 Time and date of run (Unix time() format)
11 Random data for run

The contents of the fields is as follows:

Field 1: Log format
To permit future extensions of the log file format, each record begins with an integer format indicator. The current log file format is 1; programs written to process this format should ignore any records with a greater format indicator.
Field 2: Live data?
To allow extensive “all-up” testing of the various experiments without overloading the hardware random number generator, the experiment generator can be configured to deliver software-generated pseudorandom data for test purposes. Debug runs with pseudorandom data are flagged by a zero in this field. Only runs with actual random bits, indicated by a one in the field, should be used for statistical analysis.
Field 3: Experiment name
This field specifies the internal name of the visual feedback program selected by the user for this run.
Field 4: Mode
This field will contain “Record” or “Practice” depending on the mode selected by the user. Practice runs are usually excluded from statistical analysis, but can be returned by checking the corresponding box in the Log Report Request Form.
Field 5: Goal
The goal selected by the user for the run. The field consists of a one or zero indicating which bit the user was attempting to cause to occur most often, followed by a colon and a text description of the corresponding result in the visual feedback program. For example, in the Clock Face feedback program, one bits cause the clock to advance in a clockwise fashion while zero bits set it back in the counterclockwise direction. Selecting the clockwise goal in the Clock Face experiment results in a Goal field in the log of “1:Clockwise”.
Field 6: Sound enabled?
Each of the feedback programs provides a form of optional audio feedback. If chosen by the user, this field will be “-s”, otherwise “-n”. The low-level option passed to the generating program is recorded in the log to permit representation of more complex audio feedback requests in the future.
Field 7: Subject identity
When making Record runs, users are required to specify a user identity which is normally their E-mail address but may be, if the user is concerned with disclosing this information, an arbitrary string allowing separate runs by that user to be grouped together. The actual identity string entered by the user is recorded in the log file, but cannot be retrieved across the Internet. Instead, individual subjects are assigned “Subject_n” numbers. If you've entered your own user identity when requesting the log report, your own runs will contain “Me” in this field.
Field 8: Subject's IP address
In the master log, this field records the Internet address of the host from which the experiment was requested. For privacy reasons, it is not disclosed in log reports.
Field 9: Subject's host name
In the master log, this field records the host name, if available, from which the experiment was requested. For privacy reasons, it is not disclosed in log reports.
Field 10: Time and date
Time and date when the experiment was run, expressed in the Unix time() convention of the number of non-leap seconds since 1st January 1970, Universal (Greenwich Mean) Time. C and Perl programmers can convert this number to a conventional date and time with the gmtime() function. Users of Excel on Microsoft Windows can convert a Unix date d into an Excel “serial number” with the formula =((d/86400.0)+25569). Macintosh users of Excel must, of course, to satisfy the rapacious appetite of Gates, Prince of Incompatibility, use a different formula which, not owning a Macintosh, I can't provide you here.
Field 11: Random data stream
Finally, this field contains the actual data stream from the hardware random number generator used for this run. The bit stream is expressed as a hexadecimal number, 4 bits per character, using the character set 0123456789ABCDEF.

What, no analysis?

Right! If you request raw data, that's precisely what you get—just the description of the experiment requested by the user and the random number stream delivered to the feedback program. Log reports which include statistical analysis are available; raw data is for those who don't trust our analysis and wish to verify it for themselves (and thank you for doing so!), and folks who want to conduct other studies based on the experiment database collected here.

by John Walker