psychopy.core - basic functions (clocks etc.)

Basic functions, including timing, rush (imported), quit

class psychopy.core.Clock[source]

A convenient class to keep track of time in your experiments. You can have as many independent clocks as you like (e.g. one to time responses, one to keep track of stimuli…)

This clock is identical to the MonotonicClock except that it can also be reset to 0 or another value at any point.


Add more time to the clock’s ‘start’ time (t0).

Note that, by adding time to t0, you make the current time appear less. Can have the effect that getTime() returns a negative number that will gradually count back up to zero.


timer = core.Clock()
while timer.getTime()<0:
    # do something

Reset the time on the clock. With no args time will be set to zero. If a float is received this will be the new time on the clock

class psychopy.core.CountdownTimer(start=0)[source]

Similar to a Clock except that time counts down from the time of last reset

Typical usage:

timer = core.CountdownTimer(5)
while timer.getTime() > 0:  # after 5s will become negative
    # do stuff

Returns the current time left on this timer in secs (sub-ms precision)


Reset the time on the clock. With no args, time will be set to the time used for last reset (or start time if no previous resets). If a float is received, this will be the new time on the clock.

class psychopy.core.MonotonicClock(start_time=None)[source]

A convenient class to keep track of time in your experiments using a sub-millisecond timer.

Unlike the Clock this cannot be reset to arbitrary times. For this clock t=0 always represents the time that the clock was created.

Don’t confuse this class with core.monotonicClock which is an instance of it that got created when PsychoPy.core was imported. That clock instance is deliberately designed always to return the time since the start of the study.

Version Notes: This class was added in PsychoPy 1.77.00


Returns the current offset being applied to the high resolution timebase used by Clock.


Returns the current time on this clock in secs (sub-ms precision).

If applying zero then this will be the time since the clock was created (typically the beginning of the script).

If not applying zero then it is whatever the underlying clock uses as its base time but that is system dependent. e.g. can be time since reboot, time since Unix Epoch etc

class psychopy.core.StaticPeriod(screenHz=None, win=None, name='StaticPeriod')[source]

A class to help insert a timing period that includes code to be run.

Typical usage:

ISI = StaticPeriod(screenHz=60)
ISI.start(0.5)  # start a period of 0.5s
stim.image = 'largeFile.bmp'  # could take some time
ISI.complete()  # finish the 0.5s, taking into account one 60Hz frame

win.flip()  # the period takes into account the next frame flip
# time should now be at exactly 0.5s later than when ISI.start()
# was called
  • screenHz – the frame rate of the monitor (leave as None if you don’t want this accounted for)

  • win – if a visual.Window is given then StaticPeriod will also pause/restart frame interval recording

  • name – give this StaticPeriod a name for more informative logging messages


Completes the period, using up whatever time is remaining with a call to wait()


1 for success, 0 for fail (the period overran)


Start the period. If this is called a second time, the timer will be reset and starts again


duration – The duration of the period, in seconds.


Return unix time (i.e., whole seconds elapsed since Jan 1, 1970).

This uses the same clock-base as the other timing features, like getTime(). The time (in seconds) ignores the time-zone (like time.time() on linux). To take the timezone into account, use int(time.mktime(time.gmtime())).

Absolute times in seconds are especially useful to add to generated file names for being unique, informative (= a meaningful time stamp), and because the resulting files will always sort as expected when sorted in chronological, alphabetical, or numerical order, regardless of locale and so on.

Version Notes: This method was added in PsychoPy 1.77.00


Get the current time since psychopy.core was loaded.

Version Notes: Note that prior to PsychoPy 1.77.00 the behaviour of getTime() was platform dependent (on OSX and linux it was equivalent to psychopy.core.getAbsTime() whereas on windows it returned time since loading of the module, as now)

psychopy.core.wait(secs, hogCPUperiod=0.2)[source]

Wait for a given time period.

If secs=10 and hogCPU=0.2 then for 9.8s python’s time.sleep function will be used, which is not especially precise, but allows the cpu to perform housekeeping. In the final hogCPUperiod the more precise method of constantly polling the clock is used for greater precision.

If you want to obtain key-presses during the wait, be sure to use pyglet and to hogCPU for the entire time, and then call psychopy.event.getKeys() after calling wait()

If you want to suppress checking for pyglet events during the wait, do this once:

core.checkPygletDuringWait = False

and from then on you can do:


This will preserve terminal-window focus during command line usage.

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