Holos is a new collaborative environment in which researchers can carry out experiments based on holistic approaches, and share study resources (stimuli and data collected), either partially or totally, within the scientific community. Holos is the combination of a software for collecting data and a database for storing study resources and their respective results.

The software is partially inspired by TCL-LabX (Gaillard, 2009), a free interface dedicated to Sorting for psychoacoustic experiments, except that it deals with a wider range of stimuli (texts, images, sounds, and videos), and a wider range of methods including Sorting and (sorted) Napping. This software is an android application with a tactile human machine interface in which subjects can easily conduct experiments using a tablet. Stimuli are displayed as icons that can be dragged with one finger, depending on the way they are perceived. When required, subjects can write down information to describe the icons.


What is the novel advancement of Holos ?

Up to now, the sole information used when analyzing Sorting or Napping data, has been respectively the partition on the stimuli, or their coordinates on a plane. In both cases, this information corresponds to the final configuration provided by a subject. Beyond this final configuration, it is interesting to observe what the subject actually did during the whole experiment.

Rather than focusing on the final configuration only, our idea is to collect and analyze data from the moment the stimuli (or products) are randomly presented, to their final configuration. The rationale behind this is the exploration of the evolution over time of the sensory dimensions that structure a set of stimuli. This point of view is novel as we’re looking at stimuli over time at a macro level, by opposition to the Temporal Dominance of Sensations, for instance, which adopts a micro level, by considering stimuli individually through sensory descriptors.

With the Holos environment, as subjects perform the task, the database records their finger movements; more precisely, the trajectories of the icons when they are dragged: we have called this new concept digit-tracking, with reference to eye-tracking. In other words, digit-tracking is a new technique that records the trajectories of the stimuli as subjects conduct an experiment on a tactile tablet. By revisiting her/his movements, we can gather information on how stimuli have been perceived over time.