Getting started with TASKontrol

To define an experiment with TASKontrol, you create a paradigm. Within a paradigm, you define all the parameters that describe the behavioral task, as well as the graphical user interface to enable starting and stopping the session.

This document explains how to run a simple paradigm using TASKontrol. We will start by running paradigms using the emulator before we try connecting to external interfaces (like an Arduino).

  1. First, you need to download and install TASKontrol.
  2. Make sure that in your settings/ file, you have set STATE_MACHINE_TYPE = 'emulator'.
  3. Open your favorite editor and save the following Python code into a file (any folder would work). Let’s assume you called the file
from taskontrol.plugins import templates

class Paradigm(templates.ParadigmMinimal):
    def __init__(self, parent=None):

if __name__ == "__main__":
    (app, paradigm) = templates.paramgui.create_app(Paradigm)
  1. In a terminal, go to the folder where you saved the file, and open the paradigm by running the command: python

Interacting with the paradigm

Example of a graphical interface Example of a graphical interface
  • The command above should open two windows: one with a big “Start” button, and one emulator window with multiple buttons.
  • When you press the “Start” button, the paradigm will run and you will see the time counter increase.
  • Pressing buttons in the emulator window will make the “Events” counter in the paradigm window increase, but nothing else should happen.

What is the code doing?

  • Line 1 imports a module that contains paradigm templates. This module will in turn import all necessary modules from Qt (for the graphical interface) and taskontrol (rigsettings, dispatcher, etc).
  • Line 3 is where we define the class for our paradigm, which we call Paradigm. In this example, our class is a subclass of the simplest template called ParadigmMinimal. To see what is being inherited, look at plugins/
  • Line 4-5 are part of the constructor of the class. These lines should appear in any paradigm we create based on a template.
  • Line 7 is a standard Python way of checking if the file is run directly (as opposed to being imported as a module by another file).
  • Line 8 will call the create_app() method, which will return:
    • An instance of the QtGui.QApplication class (the main class for running Qt applications).
    • An instance of our Paradigm class (which gives us access to everything inside our paradigm).