Travis L. Seymour & Deborah Siegel
Psychological researchers are increasingly using online virtual environments as both learning and research task environments. Virtual tasks can drastically reduce various costs associated with creating and maintaining comparable physical environments. In addition, virtual environments afford high degrees of experimental control, enhanced external validity compared to some laboratory paradigms, and can produce continuous online measures of performance. Unfortunately, the time and expertise required to create virtual environments using available tools can lead many researchers to avoid this technology. The Graphical Environment Management System (GEMS) is a software tool to create, edit, and interact with psychological experiments, virtual museums, games, and other rich virtual environments. GEMS was designed to help researchers build virtual environments using images, without the need for graphics design or programming skills. GEMS environments are not only easy to set up, but they are easy to replicate across multiple test machines, and can be easily packaged for distribution via digital media or the internet.