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McMaster Decision Science Laboratory

McDSL is located in Suite 5803 of LR Wilson Hall on McMaster University campus in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. McDSL consists of several different research spaces available for use by academic and industry researchers interested in using laboratory-based, computerized experimental and observational methods to explore decision-making. Emerging expertise additionally includes research into Virtual Reality.

The Experimental Suite (LRW 5010)

Inside McDSL's Experimental Suite, there are 22 high-powered, advanced graphics, networked, participant computers as well as several administrative computers to assist in conducting controlled experiments.  Computers surround the perimeter of the large Suite (650 sq ft) inside individual workstations, providing privacy and ensuring independence of decision-making.  Mounted on each side wall are large 60" 4K monitors complete with wirelessly accessible micro-computers, suitable for displaying instructions, websites or other material.  One monitor is also equipped with an HD webcam.  In the center of the room is a large table suitable for participant discussion and activity, as well as for allowing up to 8 more laptops and privacy screens bringing total capacity up to as many as 30 simultaneous participants.  The technical design and creation of the Experimental Suite relies on a rich 25 year history and expertise in running decision experiments here at McMaster University.

The Focus Group Room (LRW 5006/5007)

McDSL is equipped with a state-of-the-art Focus Group Room suitable for small and large group observational study.  Modular, flexible furniture allows for any size or layout of seating configuration making the space suitable for groups from 6 people up to as many as 20.  Situated on the top floor of LR Wilson Hall, the five 4m high windows provide an unparalleled view of downtown Hamilton and surrounding area, arguably the best views on McMaster campus.  Technical infrastructure inside this 500 sq. ft. space includes high-speed 2.4/5GHz wifi and secured 1Gbps wired network connections, and 4 HD wall cameras and microphone placed strategically around the room to maximize coverage.  Cameras are controlled by a custom computer system housed in the adjacent Viewing Room (behind one-way glass mirror).  A large 60" 4K wall monitor complete with an advanced wirelessly controlled micro-computer allows researchers to display any sort of information, as well as participate in webinars using the attached 4K webcam.  Amenities also include a small hospitality refrigerator and commercial grade beverage machine.  Our industry partners can also enjoy catered food services.  Simply put, this is the most advanced facility of its type anywhere in the region.  


Interview / VR Rooms (LRW 5008 / 5009)

McDSL also contains two small, private Interview Rooms suitable for conducting and recording interviews.  Each room is 100 sq. ft. and is equipped with the same wall mounted HD camera and ceiling microphone used throughout.  These rooms are designed for researchers to engage with one or two participants in an intimate, private setting.  Comfortable, round lounge furniture and coffee table make for an ideal and inviting space. 

In addition to their use as private interview spaces, furniture can be removed, creating an empty room suitable conducting research into Virtual Reality.  McDSL is equipped with four sets of HTC Vive headsets with Deluxe Audio and each of these rooms is ready to go, with laser-tracking beacons already installed.  Using one of our extremely powerful VR computers (among the most powerful computers on campus) researchers can put participants into any virtual environment imaginable.