Thursday, Oct.27: Reaction Times

OUR JOURNAL ENTRY– Today we are finishing our reaction time activity. This is how our journal entry will be set up.



  • Audio vs Visual Reaction Times– Numerous studies (included cited study below) have concluded that the mean auditory reaction time is faster than the mean visual reaction time. This means you will react faster to a sound than you would a light. The short explanation is that sound takes less time to reach the brain than does visual information. The study concluded a mean 331 millisecond reaction time for sound vs. a mean auditory reaction time of 284 milliseconds.
  • Age– Reaction times tend to rise through adolescence and peak around age 24 and slowly fall back down.
  • Gender– Multiple other studies (included the cited study) have concluded that men have faster auditory reaction times than women. The exact reason is unknown, but speculation has been made that the reaction time is influenced by different cognitive strategies employed by females.
  • Dominant Hand– A study showed that people who are left handed tend to have an inherent advantage in reaction times when using their dominant hand. The idea is that left handers have better right/left hemisphere brain communication.
  • Type of Sound– The type of sound actually matters. A study showed that humans react faster to non-speech sound vs. speech.
  • Practice & Errors– Practice is actually shown to increase reaction speed. However if a subject makes an error, there reaction speed will decrease because they are more cautious.

Other Info from

A Literature Review on Reaction Time by Robert J. Kosinski, Clemson University:)”Many researchers have confirmed that reaction to sound is faster than reaction to light, with mean auditory reaction times being 140-160 msec and visual reaction times being 180-200 msec (References). Perhaps this is because an auditory stimulus only takes 8-10 msec to reach the brain (Kemp et al., 1973), but a visual stimulus takes 20-40 msec (Marshall et al., 1943). Reaction time to touch is intermediate, at 155 msec (Robinson, E. S. 1934. Work of the integrated organism. In C. Murchison (Ed.), Handbook of General Experimental Psychology, Clark University Press, Worcester, MA.). Differences in reaction time between these types of stimuli persist whether the subject is asked to make a simple response or a complex response (Sanders, 1998, p. 114). Saville et al. (2012) found that people who had variable reaction times to a visual stimulus also had variable reaction times to an auditory stimulus.”

Another Experiment

ONLINE Reaction Time Tests

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