Forget binning and get SMART: Getting more out of the time-course of response data

Jonathan van Leeuwen*, Jeroen B.J. Smeets, Artem V. Belopolsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Many experiments aim to investigate the time-course of cognitive processes while measuring a single response per trial. A common first step in the analysis of such data is to divide them into a limited number of bins. As we demonstrate here, the way one chooses these bins can considerably influence the resulting time-course. As a solution to this problem, we here present the smoothing method for analysis of response time-course (SMART)—a complete package for reconstructing the time-course from one-sample-per-trial data and performing statistical analysis. After smoothing the data, the SMART weights the data based on the effective number of data points per participant. A cluster-based permutation test then determines at which moments the responses differ from a baseline or between two conditions. We show here that, in contrast to contemporary binning methods, the chosen temporal resolution has a negligible effect on the SMART reconstructed time-course. To facilitate its use, the SMART method, accompanied by a tutorial, is available as an open-source package.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2956-2967
Number of pages12
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2019


  • Binning
  • Perception and action
  • Reaction time methods
  • Statistics


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