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Factor Affecting Reaction Time Essay

949 words - 4 pages

Reaction time is the elapses between a stimulus and the response to the stimulus; there are a large number of studies on reaction times and learning disabilities, but very few on reaction times with the subjects having specific learning disabilities in the general population. The focus of this research is on the reaction times of people with specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dyspraxia; these will not be reviewed in a large amount of detail and will only be referred to if appropriate. Reaction time it has been a topic that is investigated throughout history as far back to Donders in 1868 who developed the idea that the simple reaction time was shorter than it recognition reaction time, he also argues that the choice reaction time was the longest. Psychologists Luce (1989) and Welford (1980) have specified three basic types of reaction time experiments: simple reaction time experiments, recognition reaction time experiments and choice reaction time experiments. The simple reaction time experiment has one stimuli and one response from the stimulus. Recognition reaction time experiments have one correct response from the stimulus and choice reaction time experiments result in the response should correspond to the stimulus. (Luce, 1989) (Welford, 1980)

There are many factors that can affect the reaction time which have been studied such as age, it is suggested that as age increase there is more variability with reaction times, it can be more affected if there is also a disease such as Alzheimer’s disease. (Hultsch, MacDonald, & Dixon, 2002) (Gorus, 2008) There have been other studies by Luchies et al. (2002) which also argue that with growing age in health adults rapidly declines the ability to react which results in a longer period of time to react. Welford (1980) forms the theory that the slowing of the reaction is not just the simple mechanical factors, it could be the inclination of the older people used in the experiment to be more careful and watch their own response during the investigation than the younger people used in this investigation.

Gender as reported by Bellis (1933) showed results where the mean time to press a key to react to the stimulus was lower in males than females, which means that the reaction time for males was faster than women. Welford states that after conducting his experiments men were faster than females and this was not changed after practice. (Welford, 1980) Practice and error, was studied by Sanders (1998) to see whether it affected the reaction time, this study resulted in reaction times being less consistent after having a specific amount of practice before hand. Koehn (2008) also found that the subjects that were used in the experiment that had an allocated amount of practice, when making an error they became more cautious when reacting slowing their reaction times more.

Individuals in an experiment were subject to fatigue conducted by Singleton (1953)...

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