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Reaction Time Essay

This experiment aimed to determine the reaction time of the test participant and using the subtractive method identify the selection time and identification time of the participant. The experiments had one participant who participated in a total of 6 experiments; two experiments required a simple reaction with a single stimulus and 4 experiments that required a more complicated reaction.

Keywords

Subtractive method – the procedure of estimating the time it takes to perform various cognitive operations. Simple reaction – this reaction time task has a single stimulus and requires only a single reaction Choice reaction – In this reaction time task there are more than one stimulus and more than one response. Each stimulus has its own response. Donders A B and C reactions – In this reaction time task there is more than one stimulus but only one stimulus is linked with a response.

Introduction

Donders A B and C reactions have been used to determine the time it takes to perform cognitive operations for quite some time now. In these experiments we aimed to use light and sound stimuli in the react time tasks to determine individual base time, Identification time and selection time. Using one female college student (23 years) and one person recording the different reaction times. The experiments took place over a period of two days, with the first experiment taking place on one afternoon and the next 5 experiments a week later in the afternoon again.

Methods

Apparatus and materials One pen and paper to record reaction times, one Reaction task machine which came equipped with headphones for sound stimuli, a screen for visual stimuli and a panel of buttons colored red, yellow and green for responses.

Procedure

Pilot Test The participant stood on the reaction task side of the machine and put on the headphones after having been already instructed to press the red button when they heard both sound and visual stimulus. The observer then set the machine to pilot test, simple reaction test and selected the color red. The observer then gave a visual signal to the participant to let them know the experiment was about to begin. In this pilot test the participant was required to press the red button each time they saw the red light flash when it was accompanied with a voice that said red. At the end of a test a hand signal was given by the observer to the participant to let them know the task was over.

The light and sound stimuli were given for a total of 20 times if the participant did not make any mistakes (that is pressed the red but only when both stimuli were given) then the pilot test was completed successfully, if not the machine would reset itself and would have to be set again and the test would be administered again. This stage was also a learning phase for both participants and observers as both were using this type of machine for the first time.

Experiment 1

The participant stood on the test side of the machine and put on a pair of headphones after having been already instructed they were required to press the red button each time they saw a red light. The observer then set the machine to real test, selected simple reaction and selected the color red. . There was no signal given to the participant as to when exactly the experiment would begin by the observer but they were told to be ready as soon as they saw the light the experiment had begun. At the end of the experiment a hand signal was given by the observer to the participant to let them know the task was over. The stimulus that required a reaction in the experiment was given 19 times and the experiment was only complete if the participant made no mistakes. Each reaction time was noted by the observer.

Experiment 2

The participant stood on the test side of the machine and put on a pair of headphones after having been already instructed they were required to press the red button only when they saw the red light flash across the light panel. The participant was instructed not to press a button for any other colour. The observer then set the machine to real test, selected selection reaction and pressed the clear colour button as well as the red. . There was no signal given to the participant as to when exactly the experiment would begin by the observer but they were told to be ready as soon as they saw the light the experiment had begun. The stimulus that required a reaction in the experiment was given 19 times and the experiment was only complete if the participant made no mistakes. . At the end of the experiment a hand signal was given by the observer to the participant to let them know the task was over. Each reaction time was noted by the observer.

Experiment 3

The participant stood on the test side of the machine and put on a pair of headphones after having been already instructed to press the button that corresponded with the colour they saw flash across the screen i.e. see green light, press green button. There was no signal given to the participant as to when exactly the experiment would begin by the observer but they were told to be ready as soon as they saw the light the experiment had begun. At the end of the experiment a hand signal was given by the observer to the participant to let them know the task was over. The stimulus that required a reaction in the experiment was given 19 times and the experiment was only complete if the participant made no mistakes. Each reaction time was noted by the observer.

Experiment 4

The participant stood on the test side of the machine and put on a pair of headphones after having been already instructed to press only the red button when they heard the high frequency sound. The observer then set the machine to real test, simple reaction test and selected high frequency sound. There was no signal given to the participant as to when exactly the experiment would begin by the observer but they were told to be ready as soon as they heard the sound the experiment had begun. At the end of the experiment a hand signal was given by the observer to the participant to let them know the task was over. The stimulus that required a reaction in the experiment was given 19 times and the experiment was only complete if the participant made no mistakes. Each reaction time was noted by the observer.

Experiment 5

The participant stood on the test side of the machine and put on a pair of headphones after having been already instructed to press the red button only when they heard the high frequency sound. The observer then set the machine to real test, choice reaction test and selected all the frequencies. There was no signal given to the participant as to when exactly the experiment would begin by the observer but they were told to be ready as soon as they heard the sound the experiment had begun. At the end of the experiment a hand signal was given by the observer to the participant to let them know the task was over. The stimulus that required a reaction in the experiment was given 19 times and the experiment was only complete if the participant made no mistakes. Each reaction time was noted by the observer.

Experiment 6

The participant stood on the test side of the machine and put on a pir of headphones after having been already instructed to press the button that corresponded with the frequency of sound they heard, i.e. high frequency= red button, middle frequency=green button and low frequency=yellow button. The observer then set the machine to real test, choice reaction test and selected all the frequencies. This time there was no hand signal given to the participant by the observer but they were told to be ready as soon as they heard the sound the experiment had begun. At the end of the experiment a hand signal was given by the observer to the participant to let them know the task was over. The stimulus that required a reaction in the experiment was given 19 times and the experiment was only complete if the participant made no mistakes. Each reaction time was noted by the observer.


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