Adaptive Staircase for blocks of trials

What are you trying to achieve?:
I would like to set up a staircase for blocks of trials, supplied by a .csv file. However, there is no place to reference a file in the staircase loop. Is there a way to set up a staircase for blocks with code snippets?

What did you try to make it work?:
This is the experiment flow I’ve tried.

The user should complete one block of trials in the 1-back loop, then if their score is about 90% they should be moved up to 2-back. Similarly, if their score is worse than 70% in the 2-back section, they should be moved down to 1-back.

What specifically went wrong when you tried that?:
I’m not sure how to use the staircase loop for blocks of trials…all of the documentation I have read applies to individual trials. Or maybe there is another kind of logic I can use to allow performance to determine how users move between blocks?

Any thoughts would be very welcome!


Hi Alice,

If a field had a dollar sign at the start - you don’t need a second one, so in start value you can just write trialsBlock_1_back rather than $trialsBlock_1_back

I actually don’t think you need a staircase loop for this. You can have a normal inner loop and track accuracy, then calculate accuracy at the end of the block to pick the next block.

Just to check - it’s to converge on a level in an n-back task right?

If so, here is an example n-back task that adjusts depending on performance. It also needs the three excel sheets in the same location as the file - I hope this helps!

n-back-staircase2.psyexp (21.2 KB)

1_back.xlsx (18.0 KB)
2_back.xlsx (18.0 KB)
3_back.xlsx (18.0 KB)


Hi Becca,

This is fantastic, thanks so much for your help. It’s so much simpler to use the blocks loop as you have done! Brilliant.


Marvelous! happy to help! (staircases are wonderful, but can be a bit “feature heavy” if you only need something simpler!!)

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