Behavioral Experimental Paradigm Condition

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A planned combination of link building stimuli and instructions regarding responses to the experimental subjects (who are only involved once the process is implemented).

Definition Source

JT and AL


Parent Entity

BFO: Process Aggregate


For example, in an auditory oddball study, there may be two experimental conditions: One in which a standard auditory tone is presented, the subjects are instructed to listen with no response, and one in which the oddball tone is presented, the subjects are instructed to listen, and they respond when they hear the tone.

Relations to other CogPO Terms

Experimental conditions as a process have stimuli and instructions regarding responses.


In BrainMap, the experimental condition is "A behavioral state during which a functional brain image is acquired." The parent term in the BrainMap hierarchy is Paper, reflecting the comparisons of conditions in reporting brain imaging results. In CogPO the experimental condition definition is not tied to brain imaging, though the comparison of results from different experimental conditions is still the core of any experiment.


Alternative definitions include "the procedure that is varied in order to estimate a variable's effect by comparison with a control condition", or from the Collins dictionary, "one of the distinct states of affairs or values of the independent variable for which the dependent variable is measured in order to carry out statistical tests or calculations. Also called condition." While these certainly cover what we mean by experimental condition, they don't make explicit the importance of stimuli and response and instructions which are key to cognitive experiments.

Discussion of Parent class choice: In the NCI thesaurus, a condition is defined as "state of being, such as health" and is a "property or attribute" which is a "thing". It's a retired class in NIFSTD (Nov 2009). Related concepts (eg "test conditions", "condition of pupil") seem to be listed as a "property" in several ontologies. In CogPO, it's more a state of affairs, a vector of values representing what's going on in a subpart of the experimental process. If it is an attribute, what is it an attribute of?

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