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Erik Marsja

Why Spyder is the Best Python IDE for Science

Spyder is the best Python IDE that I have tested so far for doing data analysis, but also for plain programming. In this post I will start to briefly describe the IDE. Following the description of this top IDE the text will continue with a discussion of my favorite features. You will also find out how to install Spyder on Ubuntu 14.04 and at the end of the post you will find a comparison of Rodeo (a newer IDE more RStudio like) and Spyder.

When I started programming in Python I used IDLE which is the IDE that you will get with your installation of Python (e.g., on Windows computers). I actually used IDLE IDE for some time. It was not until I started to learn R and found  RStudio IDE. I thought that RStudio was great (and it still is!). However, after learning R and RStudio I started to look for a better Python IDE.

Every Psychologist Should Learn Programming

The aim of this post is to show you why you, as a psychology student or researcher (or any other kind researcher or student) should learn to program. The post is structured as follows. First I start with discussing why you should learn programming and then give some examples when programming skills are useful. I continue to suggest two programming languages that I think all Psychology students and researchers should learn.

R Resources for Psychologists

Good resources for learning R as a Psychologist are hard to find. By that I mean that there are so many great sites and blogs around the internet to learn R. Thus, it may be hard to find learning resources that targets Psychology researchers.

Recently I wrote about four good R books targeted for Psychology students and researchers (i.e., R books for Psychologists). There are, however, of course other good resources for Psychological researchers to learn R programming.

Therefore, this post will list some of the best blogs and sites to learn R.  The post will be divided into two categories; general and Psychology focused R sites and blogs. For those who are not familiar with R I will start with a brief introduction on what R is (if you know R already; click here to skip to the links).

What is R?

If you are new to R you might wonder what R is? R is a free and open source programming language and environment. Data analysis in R is carried out by writing scripts and functions. Finally, R is a complete, interactive, and object-oriented language.

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In R statistical environment, you are able to carry out a variety of statistical and graphical techniques. For instance, linear and nonlinear modeling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classification, and many more can be carried using both frequentist and Bayesian paradigms.

If you are new to R, you may want to start with R commander. This will provide you with a menu making the process of  learning R a bit easier at the beginning. R can be downloaded here: The Comprehensive R Archive Network.

R Resources

One of the main things that I like with R is the broad and helpful community. This also means that there are many good resources for learning the language.

RStudio-like Python IDEs – Rodeo and Spyder

In this post I will discuss two Python Integrated Development Environments (IDE); Rodeo and Spyder. Both Python IDEs might be useful for researchers used to work with R and RStudio (a very good and popular IDE for R) because they offer similar functionalities and graphical interfaces as RStudio. That is, Rodeo and Spyder can both be seen as the RStudio for Python.

What programming language should I learn – 2

I recently asked which programming language I should learn next year (i.e., 2016). In this post I will evaluate the alternatives that I have by asking the question in different places around the internet. The post will end with the choice I made and how to install the language

To summarize my earlier post, I mainly use programming for creating Psychology experiments and, thus,  need a powerful language. Furthermore, in Psychological experiments stimuli are typically being presented (e.g., sounds, images, text, or video). Responses need to be collected from the keyboard, mouse and specially built equipment (e.g., via USB; Arduino). For some experiments timing of the presentation and collection of responses might be significant.  The language should, of course, be free, open source, and work on a computer running Windows, Linux, and OS-X. However, mobile platforms such as Smartphones and Tablets might also be interesting in the future. Note that all languages considered are more or less general purpose languages and might, therefore, be attractive to anyone that want to extend their stack and learn a new programming language 2016.

One of the most valuable answers I got was that I should look for a functional language.

TrialHandler – a PsychoPy tutorial

In this tutorial you will get to know how to use the PsychoPy function TrialHandler to create trials and correct responses to your targets in these trials. PsychoPy is an application for creating experiments for Psychology experiments. The application is written in Python, an easy programming language to learn. You can learn more about PsychoPy in my two previous posts (Free and Useful software – PsychoPy and Python apps and libraries…”).

R from Python – an rpy2 tutorial

Rpy2 Tutorial: How to Run R in Python

In this post, we are going to answer the question can you run R in Python? Of course, the answer is yes!; using the Python package rpy2. This package offers a Python interface to R.

In this tutorial, we will learn how to use rpy2 to install r packages, and run r functions to carry out data analysis and data visualization. More specifically, we will learn how to sue the r packages r-packages ‘afex‘ and ‘emmeans‘,  usin Python, and rpy2.  Finally, we will also learn how to display R plots in Jupyter notebooks using rpy2, using two different methods.

Obviously; rpy2 requires that we have both R (version +3.2.x) and Python (versions 2.7 and 3.X) installed. There are pre-compiled binaries available for Linux and Windows (unsupported and unofficial, however).

R books for Psychologists

R is a free and open-source statistical programming environment. Being open-source and free it has a large and helpful online community (for instance, see StackOverflow).  When I went from carrying out analysis in SPSS to do them in R, I searched for good books targeted to Psychologists.   The following 4 R books are useful and good for Psychologists that want to learn R.
The first book, Discovering Statistics Using R, may be a really good start if you are an undergraduate and have no experience of programming or statistics. The next two books are from intermediate to advanced level. The last book is, at the moment,  free and is also a great introduction to statistics.