Process and Analyze Mouse-Tracking Data

Mouse-tracking, the analysis of mouse movements in computerized experiments, is a method that is becoming increasingly popular in the cognitive sciences. The mousetrap package offers functions for importing, preprocessing, analyzing, aggregating, and visualizing mouse-tracking data.


Mouse-tracking, the analysis of mouse movements in computerized experiments, is a method that is becoming increasingly popular in the cognitive sciences. The mousetrap package offers functions for importing, preprocessing, analyzing, aggregating, and visualizing mouse-tracking data. An overview of the functions in this package is given in the package description, which can be accessed with package?mousetrap once the package has been installed.

The mousetrap package is developed by Pascal Kieslich and Felix Henninger. It is published under the GNU General Public License (version 3). Please see the NEWS file for most recent changes.

  • The current stable version is available on CRAN and can be installed via install.packages("mousetrap").
  • To install the latest development version from GitHub, you need the devtools package . The development version can be installed via devtools::install_github("pascalkieslich/mousetrap@master").

We thank Johanna Hepp for helpful comments on the documentation of this package and Monika Wiegelmann for testing a development version. This work was supported by the University of Mannheim’s Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences, which is funded by the German Research Foundation.


mousetrap 2.0.0

  • General changes to all existing functions
    • Renamed show_progress argument to verbose (+ set default to FALSE).
    • Introduced dimensions argument to explicitly specify the names of the columns in the trajectory array that contain the mouse positions. In most cases, the default is c("xpos","ypos") as the x- and y-positions should be used. Note that in some functions (as specified in the documentation) the order of the labels matters, the first value will be taken as the label of the x-positions, the second as the label of the y-positions.
    • Introduced timestamps argument to explicitly specify the dimension in the trajectory array containing the timestamps.
    • Perform merging of trial and trajectory data (e.g., in mt_subset and mt_reshape) based on the rownames. Therefore, the mt_id column in data.frames is not needed anymore - but is kept for the convenience of the user. The column is called "mt_id" in import and measures functions. mt_reshape allows the user to specify the label of the mt_id column explicitly.
    • As a consequence of the previous changes: Removal of the internal variables mt_variable_labels and mt_id.
    • Removed "calculate" from all mt_calculate functions: mt_calculate_measures, mt_calculate_derivatives, mt_calculate_deviations are now called mt_measures, mt_derivatives, mt_deviations.
    • Introduction of internal utils function create_results (that simplifies including the newly created trajectories or measures in the existing mousetrap data object).
    • Performance improvement of reshaping, aggregation, and visualization functions through internal changes in mt_reshape: base::merge and reshape2 functions are replaced with functions from the tidyr and dplyr packages (and custom functions). Package dependencies were adjusted accordingly. As the dplyr functions may introduce additional classes for the reshaped data (such as grouped_df and tbl_df), a new argument (convert_df) is introduced that converts the reshaped data to "pure" data.frames by default (thereby dropping additional classes).
  • Changes in specific functions
    • mt_import_mousetrap, mt_import_long, mt_import_wide: Allow specifying several variables for the trial identifier in mt_id_label. A a new ID variable will be created by combining the values of each variable.
    • mt_import_mousetrap: Make import more robust against variables with empty logs (warning message is returned in the end) (closes #5, thanks to @sbrockhaus).
    • mt_import_long, mt_import_wide: Import any number of additional variables using add_labels (closes #4).
    • mt_import_long: Timestamps are no longer used for ordering if mt_seq_label is not provided. Instead, data will be imported in the order in which they were stored in raw_data.
    • mt_import_long: Improved speed by relying on functions from the tidyr and dplyr packages.
    • mt_space_normalize, mt_align_start: Introduction of dimensions argument and the corresponding arguments start and end (deprecate xpos_start/xpos_end/ypos_start/ypos_end). This also fixes the internal bug that in mt_align_start xpos_start was passed on as ypos_start to mt_space_normalize (instead of ypos_start).
    • mt_derivatives: Rename dimension argument to dimensions, enable function to work with an arbitrary number of dimensions.
    • mt_deviations: Vectorized function point_to_line for time speed up (closes #2, thanks to @sbrockhaus).
    • mt_measures: Allow for flexible dimension labels and rename all measures columns relating only to x- or y-positions depending on the values in dimensions (e.g., x_max becomes xpos_max, x_flips becomes xpos_flips). Change column label xy_dist to total_dist.
    • mt_measures: Simplify AUC calculation using the actual x- and y-positions . New AUC values correlate to 1.00 with old values in mt_example, but in some cases extremely small differences are possible (maximum difference of 2.328e-10 in mt_example).
    • mt_reshape, mt_aggregate, mt_aggregate_per_subject: Replace aggregation_function argument with .funs, which is passed on to the aggregation function(summarize_at). .funs also allows for specifying several aggregation functions.
    • mt_plot_per_trajectory: New arguments xlim and ylim for specifying the axes limits explicitly and axes_exact for plotting exact axes.
    • mt_plot_per_trajectory: New arguments rect, color, and fill for plotting rectangles (usually representing the response buttons).
    • mt_plot (and related functions): New argument points allows for plotting points.
  • New functions
    • mt_add_variables: add new variables to trajectory array.
    • mt_export_long: export mouse-tracking data in long format (wrapper for mt_reshape).
    • mt_export_wide: export mouse-tracking data in wide format (wrapper for mt_reshape).
  • Bugs fixed
    • mt_align_start: Fixed bug that xpos_start (instead of ypos_start) was passed on as ypos_start to mt_space_normalize.
    • mt_average: Fixed bug that if intervals were specified explicitly using intervals, the wrong interval size was used when averaging (the default size of 100 was used).

mousetrap 1.2.0

  • New function mt_align_start adjusts trajectories so that they have the same start position (wrapper for mt_space_normalize)
  • New function mt_calculate_deviations calculates the idealized trajectory and the perpendicular deviations of the actual trajectory from it for each position in the trajectory array
  • For many functions, a trajectory array can now be provided directly via the data argument. In this case, the use argument will be ignored and only the resulting trajectory array will be returned
  • mt_plot_riverbed now preserves factor levels for facets
  • mt_calculate_derivatives now allows for custom dimension names using the prefix argument
  • mt_plot_per_trajectory now receives the file name as the first argument

mousetrap 1.1.0

  • mt_import_mousetrap now offers possibility to combine several variables in mouse-tracking raw data
  • mt_plot_riverbed now allows for faceting
  • mt_check_resolution now offers possibility to check (relative) frequencies of desired timestamp differences
  • Improved preprocessing of mouse-tracking raw data for mt_import_mousetrap
  • Change of default scale for fill in mt_plot_riverbed
  • Custom x and y axis labels for mt_plot_riverbed can no longer be set via x_label and y_label (but can be added using the ggplot2 functions xlab() and ylab(), see Examples)
  • Minor fix in package documentation (#1) (thanks to @sbrockhaus)
  • Minor fix in documentation of x/y reversals (thanks to Barnabás Szászi)

mousetrap 1.0.0

  • First release

Reference manual

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3.1.0 by Pascal J. Kieslich, 8 months ago

Report a bug at

Browse source code at

Authors: Pascal J. Kieslich [aut, cre], Dirk U. Wulff [aut], Felix Henninger [aut], Jonas M. B. Haslbeck [aut], Sarah Brockhaus [ctb]

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

GPL-3 license

Imports utils, stats, pracma, dplyr, tidyr, magrittr, graphics, grDevices, ggplot2, scales, psych, Rcpp, diptest, RColorBrewer, cstab, fastcluster, parallel, fields

Suggests readbulk, testthat

Linking to Rcpp

See at CRAN