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Mouse cursor pops up during sleep

Hi there,

I'm using OpenSesame to run a block design fMRI task--16 sec on and 16 sec off. With 800ms per trial, the "on" periods consist of 20 trials.

I already use the "time-to-pad" fix described here and achieve the "off" periods by adding 16000 ms to the time that experiment "should" be at.

This all works very well except that, occasionally, the mouse cursor will appear at the center of the display about 5-10 seconds into a rest period.

It never appears during the on periods, and disappears as soon as an off period finishes, so displaying a new canvas seems to "fix" it.

I was thinking of maybe having the rest periods consist of a series of fixation canvases (with fixation cross only) so that the image refreshes before the mouse cursor can appear, but at the same time I'm curious to understand why this might be happening. It doesn't happen every time, and closing all non-essential programs prior to running seems to help, so I'm wondering if its a memory issue?

The computer they have at the scanner for presenting stimuli is a bit old. It's a Dell Precision T3500, running Windows 7 with 4GB of RAM. I haven't tested the task out on many other computers, but I have only had the cursor issue while running on this Dell.


Thanks so much!


  • Hi Jonathan,

    My first guess is that the operating system decides that OpenSesame has frozen when there is a long sleep, and then takes back control, including showing the mouse cursor. I'll see if I can reproduce this, and find out how to fix it. With which backends does this problem occur?


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  • edited June 2017

    Hi Sebastiaan,

    Thanks so much! I'm using Expyriment and haven't tried it with other backends. If the cause is indeed Windows taking back control, I wonder why it only happens sometimes (using the exact same computer and operating system).


  • Just dropping in to confirm I have the same issue, or at least similar. As soon as I put the clock to sleep for as little as 5 ms, the windows task bar shows up, rendering the psychophysics window idle / to the background. So, it looks like Windows is indeed taking back control.

    Interestingly enough, this only happens in dual-screen + dual-PC SMI setup (PyGaze plugin). When running in dummy mode on single screen, everything appears to be working fine.

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