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In an experiment, we’re going to present randomly generated stimuli to multiple subjects one trial at a time and measure neural responses to them. The stimuli are randomly generated to satisfy the conditions we want to compare, say for example half of the trials will use stimuli randomly drawn from an infinite pool of condition A stimuli and half will be drawn from an infinite pool of condition B stimuli.

It’s the same amount of effort for us to use the same random generation of the stimuli to every subject, versus randomly generating entirely new stimuli for every subject while always having half of the stimuli from condition A and half of the stimuli from condition B. Our interest is to make inferences on the neural responses to condition A versus condition B. Which of the two would be preferred?

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting question. Can you provide a little more scientific background about what is random about the stimuli and what the condition A vs. B manipulation is? $\endgroup$ – half-pass Mar 29 '16 at 11:20
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    $\begingroup$ The stimuli are sentences randomly generated by a computer program. To be precise, there are actually 6 different sentences structures we’ll test, with different words used to complete the sentence structures. So we want to make inferences about the fixed variables of sentence structures, where the precise sentences given are randomly drawn from an essentially infinite pool. So is it better to draw those random stimuli once, or a new time for each subject? I feel there is a quantitative way to show which method would be best, and wondered if anyone has ever thought about that before. $\endgroup$ – NeuroResearcher Mar 30 '16 at 7:06

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