Millisecond Forums

possible to implement countdown-display??

By Herbie_Anti - 7/7/2009


I wonder if there is a way to implement a countdown as a simple text stimulus. It should show the participants the elapsed time they have thus far spent in a block; something which is, for some reasons, necessary for our experiment. I've come as far as to define a text item that displays elapsedtime but only  in ms, and - that is the cardinal error - only once when the trial actually begins.

<text timepass>

/ items = ("XXX: <% round(block.main.elapsedtime) %>")

/ position = (75%, 65%)


Any idea how I could get a countdown that counts down during the trial? I considered using a video but since there is navigation back to the trial in which the elapsed time of the block shall be displayed that does not seem useful, let alone the timing inaccuracies that would occur.

Looking forward to your answer(s)


By IvoR - 7/7/2009

Hey T.,

You're probably going to have to implement all the times and make sure a trial is run for 1 second. It would look like something like below:

<text timepass>
/items = times
<item times>
/1 = "4:00"
/2 = "3:59"

<trial timepassed>
/stimulustimes = [0=timepass]
/timeout = 1000

<block time>
/trials = [1-xxx = timepassed]

You might be able to use a <counter>-element for the minutes and seconds.  Another method is to use pictures. But the video is probably a better idea: you should be able remove the backbutton with /showbackbutton = false (or something).

Hope this helps,


By Dave - 7/7/2009

I also believe that using a video or (better yet) a flash file to display the elapsed time is your best shot. As a matter of fact, I have used this exact approach in the past with much success and I've even written about it here a few times:

If handled correctly, I wouldn't expect any timing issues either.



By Herbie_Anti - 7/7/2009

Hey  - thank you both for the quick answers. I would like to give the flash-solution a try.

@Dave: would you mind sending me the functional timer and sample script you mentioned in the other thread?



By Dave - 7/7/2009

Sure. The zip including the flash file and a demo script can be downloaded from here:

Let me know how that goes.


By Dave - 7/15/2009

So, how has this been working out for you? I'd appreciate if you took the time to report your experiences here -- after all, they might be helpful for other users in the future. If you've come up with an entirely different approach that would be interesting to hear, too.



By methew - 3/25/2012

Hi Dave,

I'd like to incorporate a timer in my inquisit experiment, too. However, I would prefer a "countdown"-timer to count back from eight, seven and six minutes.

Can you help me with this?

Best regards


By Dave - 3/25/2012

Same thing as discussed in this very thread: Create a video file that displays your countdown, display said file with Inquisit.