The Effects of Music on Reaction Time in Human Beings

Categories: Treatise

When carrying out many feats of physical ability, determining how fast an individual can carry out the action has actually become a customized that has actually gained prominence over the last few years. Observing the length of time it takes an individual to carry out an action, now understood as observing the response time, has even gotten enough value to the point that it has even utilized in some clinical examinations. The purpose of this clinical examination, for circumstances, is to check whether an outdoors force, such as music, will affect the response time of any offered guinea pig.

Whether the modification will be a positive one, such as helping the guinea pig(s) complete the task faster, consequently enhancing the response time, or a negative one, which will sidetrack in the test topic(s) in some form or fashion, lowering the response time, will be documented. The hypothesis produced for the experiment is that the music will not only impact the reaction times of the test topics, but it will likewise improve the test topics' individual reaction times by stimulating them through a type of placebo impact, in addition to providing the guinea pig more inspiration to complete the job in a more time efficient way.

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Terms that are pertinent to this scientific investigation are reaction time, music, placebo, mental chronometry, and stimulus. The reaction time can be defined as the quantity of time required to react to some type of external stimuli. Reaction time can be specified into among three categories: easy response time, acknowledgment reaction time (likewise referred to as discrimination response time), and option response time.

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'Simple response time' is when only one stimulus and one reaction are present. 'Recognition response time' is when, during an experiment, there are particular signs present that are meant to be reacted to and other signs that are suggested to be disregarded, simply put, enabling for only one correct stimulus and reaction. 'Option response time' is an experiment that includes numerous stimuli and several responses, in which the reaction needs to represent the correct stimulus. (Response Times) Mental chronometry, a type of response times, is the usage of reaction or response time in "perceptual-motor jobs to infer the material, duration, and temporal sequencing of cognitive operations" (Mental Chronometry).

A stimulus is something that incites or induces a specific action or reaction or quickens the response of an organism (Stimulus). Music can be defined as “an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color” (Music). A placebo, also known as the placebo effect, is the measured, observed, or the felt improvement of the health of a person and that cannot be attributed to effect of some form of medicine or some type of invasive treatment that has been administered (Carroll). “A placebo (Latin for "I shall please") is a pharmacologically inert substance (such as saline solution or a starch tablet) that seems to produce an effect similar to what would be expected of a pharmacologically active substance (such as an antibiotic)” (Carroll).

Mental chronometry has become an integral part of experimental and cognitive psychology (Mental Chronometry). As cognitive psychology and human processing in general began to evolve into its modern day counterpart from the middle of the nineteenth century, experimental psychologists have become to focus upon the dynamics of cognition and action (David E. Meyer). Mental chronometry was first developed in the early reaction time experiments of Franciscus Donders (1869). In his experiments, Donders separated for analyzing cognitive activity into three separate stages: the simple reaction time stage, recognition or discrimination reaction time stage, and the choice reaction time stage. He then predicted the types of processes that may be used in each task and how long each task may take, as well as creating a subtraction method relevant to studying mental process; Donders eventually comes to the conclusion that the simple reaction time types take the shortest amount of time while the choice reaction time types take the longest amount of time.

Donders’ experiment with mental chronometry eventually became more developed during the middle twentieth century. In 1978, Michael Posner had an experiment in which he used “used a series of letter-matching studies to measure the mental processing time of several tasks associated with recognition of a pair of letters”. Posner had performed many tests, after which he used the subtraction method in order “to determine the approximate amount of time that it took for subjects to perform each of the cognitive processes associated with each of [the] tasks”. Mental chronometry also had a huge effect on hierarchal network models, as they became largely discarded after some findings related to mental chronometry. In years to come, with the invention of neuroimaging techniques such as the functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and the Positron Emission Tomograhpy (PET), psychologists began to modify their mental chronometry paradigms for functioning imaging.

The development of technology made the study of mental chronometry more popular, in which mental chronometry was used in “by performing tasks based on reaction time which measures through neuroimaging the parts of the brain which are involved in the cognitive processes.” Mental chronometry is now being used in many forms of research and is being connected to studies concerning the cognitions of many people. In the 1950s and 1960s, using the technology of the time, researchers were able to use electrical potentials to study reaction times in human beings, with the results showing a type of connection “between the observed electrical potentials with motor and sensory stages for information processing.”

With the development of neuroimaging technology in the 1980s, PETs were able to detect which area of the brain was active during experiments that used mental chronometry by injecting people with radionuclides. The fMRI was also used to detect the precise brain areas that were active during mental chronometry tasks, showing that there are a small amount of brain areas that spread out which are active in performing mental chronometry tests (Mental Chronometry)

Experiments concerning the effects of music on reaction times have been conducted in the past. Although the experiments were not done in the same frequency as this experiment (different types of music, different tasks), they are useful in displaying how music and, quite possibly, other external stimuli can positively influence a person’s reaction time. In an experiment done by researchers Maja Meško, Vojko Strojnik, Mateja Videmšek, and Damir Karpljuk in February 2009 showcased this point. The purpose of the experiment was to display the effects of music on reaction time, in this particular case, the effects of techno music on the reaction times of participants exposed to visual stimuli.

Their hypothesis, that listening to techno music would shorten reaction time, was later validated by their experiment, as the results demonstrated the effects of shortened reaction times. The research, however, also stated that significant results were displayed after some time had passed after the participants were done listening to music, not while the participants actually were listening to music. The results demonstrated that after thirty minutes of listening to techno music, after a forty-five second break, the music began to affect the reaction time of the participants. (Maja Meško) These results, while not exactly conclusive towards the aim of this experiment, demonstrate that music does in fact help shorten the reaction time of individuals.

Reaction time is tested in experiments that measure mental chronometry. The history of testing reaction time, or mental chronometry, in modern times, began in the middle of the nineteenth century, the early experiments of Franciscus Donders in 1869. Mental chronometry gained more prominence in the middle of the twentieth century, with the development of new technology and new methods of studying mental chronometry. Since then, experiments dealing with mental chronometry or reaction times have become more popular, with mental chronometry even revolutionizing modern psychology.

Music, along with other forms of external stimuli, have displayed crucial evidence in affecting the reaction times of individuals, although this is not always in the same manner; music has been proven to both increase and reduce the reaction times of many different people. In relation towards this experiment, the hypothesis is that music will not only affect reaction time, but it will reduce it as well. Given the amount of evidence collected, it is believed that the hypothesis is not only a valid one, but also one that will come to be demonstrated as true in this experiment.

•Carroll, Robert T. Placebo Effect. 6 July 2012. 9 December 2012. •David E. Meyer, Allen M. Osman, David E. Irwin, Steven Yantis. Modern Mental Chronometry. 1988. 9 December 2012. •Maja Meško, Vojko Strojnik, Mateja Videmšek, Damir Karpljuk. The
Effect of Listening to Techno Music on Reaction Times to Visual Stimuli. February 2009. 9 December 2012. •Mental Chronometry. 2012. 9 December 2012. •Music. 2012. 9 December 2012. •Reaction Times. n.d. 8 December 2012. •Stimulus. 2012. 9 December 2012.

Updated: Dec 23, 2021
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The Effects of Music on Reaction Time in Human Beings. (2016, Oct 22). Retrieved from

The Effects of Music on Reaction Time in Human Beings essay
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