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Thread: stim list text showing up as random characters

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    stim list text showing up as random characters

    I am having a problem with DirectRT presenting random characters instead of text when presenting some items from my stim list files. The stim lists contain sentence-length segments of text, with various punctuation marks (e.g., %, '). I am wondering if there are any known issues with presenting certain types of punctuation marks? Or, if it could be a problem with the format of my text files? If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009


    I figured out that directRT was not presenting apostrophes correctly, so deleting apostrophes from my stim lists helped with part of my problem.

    I am still having a problem where it occasionally presents random characters before my text, then the "~" and ".bmp" at the end, but I figured out that this is happening only for the first item in each of my stim list files. Any ideas about this? Is there something else I need to put at the top of my stim list txt file?

  3. #3

    Same problem

    I'm having the same problem with .bmp showing up as a suffix to my words from the list. This is happening with all trials, though. Did you ever figure it out?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    I think the default for directRT is to assume the text in a stimlist file is names of image files. If directRT tries to show an image file that doesn't exist, it will show the word with ".bmp" at the end. If you want the words to just be shown as stimuli, you have to put a "~" before each word to indicate that you just want the text to be shown. I'm not sure if this is your problem, but from your description it sounds like it could be.

  5. #5


    Yes, this is the problem. Thanks for giving me the heads up. I thought the list option meant that word lists could be used.

    Thank you for your help.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Nice problem solving

    Just wanted to confirm that DirectRT does in fact read stimulus references in a stim list as if each were literally transplanted within the cells of an input file. And, as by default, images require no prefix character, entering the stim dog will lead DirectRT to search for an image called "dog.bmp". If it can not find the image, it will display "dog.bmp" on the screen as a placeholder. If the word dog is to be presented as text then it would need to be entered as ~dog, or as a sound, !dog, etc.

    And yes, I do believe that quotes are a problem for stimlist content as they can be mistaken as data / field delimiters when DirectRT is reading the file. We will try to resolve this in the next version.

    See also:


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Stim list continuing to show up as random characters!

    I have also encountered the same problem whereby I am pulling text from a stimlist and sometimes instead of the text I see ".bmp" on random trials. I have checked and all text in my stimlist is prefaced with a ~ so I am completely mystified as to why this is still happening! My stim all look like this "~A 4." If you have any ideas please help me out!

    Thanks so much!

  8. #8

    I realise this thread is a little old now but thought I'd post my solution to the initial query in case anyone else is having the same issue. The solution was to resave all of the text files as UTF-8. I didn't know what this meant, but all it involved was opening up the text file in Notepad and clicking 'Save as'. Keep the file name the same but in the dropdown box next to 'Encoding' select UTF-8 (it was set on ANSI for me). Now all punctuation in the text is showing up fine (previously the apostrophes were showing up as rectangular symbols).
    Hope this helps someone.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Thanks very much Bethany. I'll also look into why this is happening (so a fix like this wouldn't be necessary!). Regardless, it's great to see a temporary work-around posted. Thanks again. Btw, can you tell me exactly which version you had this issue with? I know you mentioned in an email it started with DirectRT v2010-- was that 2010.2 or 2010.3? -Blair
    Last edited by jarvis24; 08-09-2011 at 10:59 PM.

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