Christos Constantinidis, PhD

Wake Forest Visual Experimentation Software (WaVE)

WaVE is a software solution for the control of visual neurophysiological and behavioral experiments, entirely based on the MATLAB platform. The software can easily be customized to individual laboratory needs. Full information, simulation results, and performance benchmarks are provided at:

T. Meyer and C. Constantinidis. A software solution for the control of visual behavioral experimentation. J. Neuroscience Methods (2005), 142:27-34. [Abstract]

Download the code.


The CursorODR.m demonstration script was developed with MATLAB 6.5 Release 13, and the Psychophysics Toolbox, version 2.50 available from:

Remember to include the Psychophysics toolbox directory in the MATLAB path and to place the CursorODR.m script in the working directory. Running MATLAB at the "nojvm" (no-Java virtual machine) mode is recommended, although we found no adverse consequence of running MATLAB in the multiple-window mode, for our application.

File Description 

i) CursorODR.m :

Stand-alone, demonstration script, implementing an oculomotor delayed response task, as well as a fixation and a visually-guided saccade task. Eye position is simulated by the mouse-controlled cursor.

ii) WaveGui.m, WaveGui.fig, WaveGuiLoad.m, WaveGuiLoad.fig, WaveGuiSave.m, WaveGuiSave.fig :

Files associated with the, optional, Graphical User Interface, which launches the CursorODR script and controls a number of behavioral parameters.

iii) ODR.m :

Script that controls the behavioral control during neurophysiological experimentation, provided for reference purposes. The script requires additional hardware and software to run (data acquisition board, analog eye position input, Data Acquisition Toolbox).


To run the stand-alone CursorODR program type "CursorODR" at the Matlab command window. The default mode of the program implements a fixation task. The fixation point appears first and the cursor must be placed on it, within 2 seconds. The cursor must stay at the fixation point while a cue stimulus appears in the periphery. Incorrect placement of the cursor at any stage results in the trial being aborted and a feedback tone being played. One block of eight trials, including 8 cue locations around the center, will be delivered by default. To terminate the program early, press any mouse key.

IMPORTANT: the keyboard has been disabled; the program will not break with a control-break keystroke, only with a mouse break. If for any reason the program crashes, the screen buffer must be cleared before it can run again: use the Screen('clearall') command. The program assumes a 1024-768 monitor resolution. Different screen resolutions will work, but the stimuli will not be centered on the screen (some may not be visible). The resolution, as well as the monitor size and viewing distance can be set appropriately by assigning an appropriate value to the corresponding variable, in the first 3 lines of the script.

To run the GUI-controlled task type "WaveGUI" at the Matlab command window. A Window appears, with the default values of the program. To launch the CursorODR program, after selecting the desired behavioral parameters click on the "Execute Trials" button.

i) The "Trial Type" pull-down menu allows the user to switch between 3 types of trials: A Visual Guided Saccade task requires the mouse cursor to be placed on the cue stimulus while it is still visible, but after the fixation point is turned off. A Delayed-response task, requires the cursor to be moved to the remembered location of the cue, after both the cue and the fixation point are turned off. A No-Saccade (Fixation) task is also implemented, as described in the previous section.

ii) The "Number of Blocks" window controls the number of groups of trials to be executed, in blocks of 8. The cue will appear randomly at one of eight symmetric locations around the fixation point in each block.

iii) The "Duration" fields allow the user to vary the duration of each the epochs in the task.

iv) The "Window Radii" fields control the eccentricity of the stimulus, and the size of the fixation and saccade windows within which the mouse must be placed. All measurements are in degrees, measured 60 cm away from a 33x27 cm monitor, by default.

The desired behavioral parameters may be saved and later loaded from a file, using the "File" menu, at the menu bar.

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Neurobiology & Anatomy

Phone 336-716-4368

Dr. Barry E. Stein

Dr. Barry E. Stein, Chairman
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Wake Forest School of Medicine
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