A web-based puzzle game for social psychology experiments


As part of a larger research program, we have developed an interactive cooperation game framework based on Tetris to examine cooperation in human-agent interactions in laboratory settings [1, 2]. Tetris-like puzzle games are proven tools within cognitive psychology to investigate cognitive skills such as problem solving and learning [3, 4]. Therefore, other CITEC researchers that utilize interactive situations to examine learning [e.g. 5] could benefit from this scenario, too. Our current Java based framework allows us to investigate human-computer cooperation by letting human players interact with a computer agent in a round-based interactive game, but it is limited to our laboratories. Yet, experimental results can only be replicated and compared if the source code, methods, and data are made publicly available. In this project, our locally running experimental framework is to be converted into a platform independent web application. This will also enable us to broaden our scope by conducting large-scale online experiments via crowdsourcing platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk or Crowdflower. The specific outcome will be the application (frontend and backend) and an initial corpus of interaction data obtained using a crowdsourcing platform. The two results of this project, source code and interaction data, will be provided through the CITEC OpenSource server.


Resources and working environment

As a starting point, existing source code developed within our project will be provided. Off-site working
is possible since the application will be built using platform independent web technologies, such as
Java and JavaScript. The project repository will be stored on the CITEC OpenSource server.

Roadmap and open access

  • Preparation [week 1]: Read provided literature and get acquainted with the provided source code and server infrastructure
  • Setup [week 1]: Set up the webserver provided by our group, determine programming language
  • (e.g. Java, JavaScript), and setup database (e.g. MySQL)
  • Implementation backend [week 2]: Implement backend and provide offline test cases
  • Implementation frontend [week 3]: Implement frontend and connect to backend
  • Deployment [week 4]: Deploy solution on server provided by our group
  • Proof of concept [week 4]: Run a first study on a crowdsourcing platform and provide the results on the CITEC OpenSource server

Progress is ensured by using the CITEC OpenSource server repository, the issue tracking system,
and progress reports on a regular basis (i.e., weekly hangouts/skype meetings and E-mail as needed).


[1] Mattar, N., Kulms, P., & Kopp, S. (2015). Prototyping user interfaces for investigating the role of
virtual agents in human-machine interaction. To be presented at the Intelligent Virtual Agents confer-
ence, Aug 2015, Delft, NL.
[2] Kulms, P., Mattar, N., & Kopp, S. (2015). An interaction game framework for the investigation of
human–agent cooperation. To be presented at the Intelligent Virtual Agents conference, Aug 2015,
Delft, NL.
[3] Lindstedt, J. K., & Gray, W. D. (2015). Meta-T: Tetris as an experimental paradigm for cognitive
skills research. Behavior Research Methods. doi:10.3758/s13428-014-0547-y
[4] Kirsh, D., & Maglio, P. (1994). On Distinguishing Epistemic from Pragmatic Action. Cognitive Sci-
ence, 18(4), 513–549. doi:10.1207/s15516709cog1804_1
[5] Wrede, B., Rohlfing, K. J., Hanheide, M., & Sagerer, G. (2009). Towards learning by interacting. In
B. Sendhoff et al. (Eds.), Creating Brain-Like Intelligence (pp. 139–150). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.