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What is Reaction time method?

What is Reaction time method?


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I'm having some trouble with understanding Reaction Time (RT) method.

I have a hypothesis that M occurs at B where M is a mental activity and B is a location in the brain. To verify it, I want to use either method subtraction method or mental chronometric (here I say RT). Using fMRI and subtraction method, I think it can be done. For example, suppose that sequence of metal activities A-N-M occurs. Then, by using fMRI, where M occurs and subtract places which are activated when A and N occur.

But designing experiment using the RT, How can I do that where M occurs in brain?


Part 13: Data aggregation¶

jsPsych provides a limited set of analysis functions to allow you to calculate things like mean response times for a selected set of trials. In this part, we'll use these functions to add a final trial to the experiment that tells the subject their accuracy and their mean response time for correct responses.

We'll use the html-keyboard-response plugin. Because the text that we want to display changes based on the subject's performance in the experiment, we need to use a function for the stimulus parameter and return the desired text.

Here's what the code looks like, and a description follows below.

To create the variable trials , we use jsPsych.data.get() which returns a jsPsych data collection containing all of the data from the experiment. We can then use .filter to select only the trials where task is 'response' (a benefit of tagging the trials in part 11). trials contains all of the data from the trials where a circle was shown.

To get only the correct trials, we can use .filter() again to select only the trials from the trials data collection where the property correct is true .

To calculate accuracy, we can use the .count() method to determine how many trials were correct and how many trials there were total. We also use Math.round() to avoid extra digits after the decimal.

Finally, to calculate the mean response time on correct trials, we use the .select method on the correct_trials data collection to select only the 'rt' property of those trials. We can then use the .mean() method to find the mean of all the RT values.


Comparison of Coinciding Anticipation Timing and Reaction Time Performances of Adolescent Female Volleyball Players in Different Playing Positions

(1, 2, 4) Mugla Sitki Kocman University, Faculty of Sports Sciences, Turkey. (3) Gazi University, Faculty of Sports Sciences, Turkey.

Corresponding Author:
Halil Ibrahim Ceylan, Research Assistant
Mugla Sitki Kocman University, Faculty of Sports Sciences
Kotekli/Mugla, 48000
[email protected]
002522111951

(1) Ahmet Rahmi Günay is a lecturer and doctoral student at the Gazi University studying Health and Coaching Sciences. He is also a Volleyball trainer.

(2) Halil İbrahim Ceylan is a Research Assistant and doctoral student at the Mugla Sitki Kocman University studying Health and Coaching Sciences.

(3) Filiz Fatma Çolakoğlu is a Professor at the Gazi University studying Training Sciences.

(4) Ozcan Saygin is a Professor in Sports Exercise Science at the Mugla Sitki Kocman University studying physical activity and fitness

Comparison of Coinciding Anticipation Timing and Reaction Time Performances of Adolescent Female Volleyball Players in Different Playing Positions

The purpose of this study was to compare coinciding anticipation timing (CAT) and reaction time performance of adolescent female volleyball players in different playing positions. Twenty-eight adolescent volleyball players (14 Outside players and 14 Middle players), who played volleyball in licensed infrastructure leagues and trained 5 days a week regularly, with an average age of 15.0 ± 0.94 years, participated voluntarily. A Bassin Anticipation Timer was used to measure the CAT performance of the volleyball players at different stimulation speeds: Slow- 3 mph (1.34 m/s) and Fast- 8 mph (3.58 m/s). Visual, auditory, and mixed reaction times were measured with the Newtest 1000 Instrument. When the absolute error scores of volleyball players were compared according to playing positions, a statistically significant difference was found in the fast speed condition (t = -2.090, p = .047). A statistically significant difference was also observed in the mixed reaction time scores (t = -2.163, p = .040). Middle players had better CAT scores in the Fast condition and mixed reaction time performances than outside players. This is thought to be due to the different responsibilities of middle players in the game as compared with outside players. Because both offensive combinations and block responsibilities are more diversified for Middle players, CAT and reaction time performance of middle players are of greater importance. In order to reach top level performance, it is thought that a number of special exercises, in addition to volleyball training, should be done to improve the CAT performance. It is recommended to repeat the research in different age groups, different categories and different positions.

Keywords: Adolescent, Playing Position, Coinciding Anticipation Timing, Reaction Time, Volleyball

INTRODUCTION

Perceptual skills form the foundation of the ability to predict and react to a stimulus with an effective response. These skills are required for athletes to perform their motor skills competently in sports (34), especially in volleyball, where the game dynamics and short time of reaction to the changing situations are extremely important (46). Volleyball can be defined as a situational sport, requiring great adaptation capacity to the variables that continuously change (40). The players are excessively subject to arousal in the competition environment and need to predict and respond quickly in a limited time (62). “The ability to quickly see the incoming ball or change one’s position on the court decide whether a point is scored and, in the end, the game is won” (46, p 276). Volleyball players need to be at a sufficient level in terms of sensory and cognitive skills as well as physical and motor skills. Coinciding anticipation timing (CAT) and reaction time are an important sensory and cognitive skills (34, 50).

CAT refers to the ability to predict what is likely to happen before the event itself. It is also defined as the ability to read games and is very important in sports where decisions must be taken quickly before a opponent’s action (51). Two types of CAT performance can be mentioned in team sports. These are receptor and effector anticipation. For example, the estimation of the distance of the ball in the air when catching the ball is defined as receptor anticipation, while the calculation of the hands to be brought to the front of the body in order to catch the ball is defined as effector anticipation (43). Overall response time to a stimulus is greatly influenced by both receptor and effector anticipation (42). Reaction time is very important in sports and games where the movements of the players are conditioned by signals, by the movement of the ball or by the movements of the opponent (22). Reaction time which is one of the most important components in most activities, refers to the speed of decision making and movement. Success in most rapid movements depend on the speed of decision-making and movement of the athlete based on movements caused by the environment or competitor (54). CAT and reaction time are very important for players to evaluate the activities and positions of other players in team sports such as volleyball (50), basketball (60) and handball (52). In the sports played with a ball, it is essential to detect all information about the ball (position and velocity) in order to prepare the appropriate motor response (57), perform the necessary footwork, take the right position, and to get ready for a return shot (3). The ability of the athlete to take postural cues from the opponent’s body movements is also crucial for performance. (49). In addition, athletes involved in team sports can often predict the results of movement of another athlete based on visual information from other athletes’ body movements (15). CAT is very important in block performance (8) and predicting different types of attacks (62).

A shorter reaction time and more accurate anticipation ensure players an advantage for high performance in volleyball. There are studies examining CAT or reaction time in different sports such as, football (29, 53), basketball (1, 26, 41), handball (25, 39), tennis and table tennis (2, 3, 37, 56, 61), badminton (23), baseball and rugby (13, 48) and karate (45). In the literature, there are studies indicating the importance of reaction time (5, 33, 40, 47, 62) and both CAT and reaction time in volleyball (8, 32, 50, 51). There are limited studies that measure and compare the CAT and reaction time of volleyball players who play in different positions. This shows that the current study is important for the literature. In volleyball games, middle players have multi-faceted attack combinations and block responsibilities (44). Volleyball players reported that orientation and spatial position of the spiker relative to the ball to be hit, which are available just prior to hand-ball contact, are important cues in anticipating attack course (58). Ceylan and Gunay (11) compared the CAT of football, basketball and volleyball players. They reported that there was no statistically significant difference in the CAT. Perceptual-motor expertise may contribute to successful action anticipation (6, 9, 38). Canal-Bruland et al. (9), Kioumourtzoglou et al. (32), Takeyama et al. (58), Schorer et al. (55) found the ability to detect a moving object and the prediction accuracy of expert volleyball players were found to be higher as compared with novice volleyball players. Kioumourtzoglou et al. (31) indicated that volleyball expert players performed better on perceptual speed, focused attention, prediction, and estimation of speed and direction of a moving object. In one study, Nuri et al. (50) compared the CAT and reaction times of the volleyball players and the sprinters. He showed that volleyball players predicted the speed and timing of the ball better than the sprinters. In additon, auditory reaction time of the sprinters was found to be better than volleyball players. The reason for this is that volleyball players train in a dynamic environment where they constantly predict where the ball will be. Therefore, the predictive capabilities of the volleyball players related to the ball were improved. Zhou (62) stated that volleyball players playing in different roles used different strategies for visual search. They found that the main attack group and the supporting attack group athletes used more short search durations for gaze duration, and the accuracy of the prediction and judgment response were also higher than other playing positions. They suggested that the higher search speeds of main attackers and supporting attacks were related to higher neural activation intensity. Saygin et al. (53) examined the conciding anticipation performance of the football players. They indicated that goalkeeper had a better CAT performance than defender, midfielder and forward players.

Good cognitive characteristics, such as reaction time in volleyball, provide a better understanding of the game and leads to faster responses to actions (5). Zwierko et al. (63) reported that volleyball players (mean age: 22.86 ± 2.09 years) had better total reaction times to stimuli appearing in the central and peripheral field of vision compared to non-athletes. They found the reaction time of the volleyball players and non-athletes as 347.50 ± 36.37 ms, 407.83 ± 52.56 ms, respectively. They also noted that differences in the reaction time and in the speed of signal conductivity in visual pathways between athletes and non-athletes can be linked to the effect of the sports dynamic sensorimotor demands on the central nervous system (63). The better visuomotor reaction time of athletes as compared with non-athletes is associated with structural and functional adaptations in the central nervous system. Moreover, visuomotor reaction performance for athletes performing at high skill level depends on visual processes and especially on the structural and functional characteristics of the mid-temporal area sensitive to visual motion (27). Maciel et al. (40) compared the reaction times of volleyball players who played in different positions. They observed that the reaction time of central attackers and strong-side attackers were found to have faster reaction times due to the movement characteristics of their playing position. They also expressed that the reason why the center players performed better at reaction time test was related to the functional characteristics of the players. In line with previous findings (40), we hypothesized that middle players would be faster than the outside players in terms of CAT and reaction time. The aim of this study was to compare the CAT and reaction time performances of adolescent female volleyball players in different playing positions.

Participants
Twenty-eight adolescent females who had a training regularly 5 days a week and played volleyball at a University Sports Club participated in this study. Permission was obtained from the Sports Club before starting the study. The athletes who participated in the study signed the Informed Consent Form.

Instrumentation
Body Weight and Height: The body weight and height of volleyball players were performed by Seca brand measurement tool (0.01 kg and 0.01 cm sensitivity) (24).

Coincidence Anticipation Timing: Bassin Anticipation Timer (Lafayette Instrument Company, Model 35575) which was developed to test the area of visual acuity related to eye-hand coordination and coinciding anticipation by Stanley Bassin (35). Crocetta et al. (14) reported that The Bassin Anticipation Timer was the most used instrument to determine CAT in their review. The device consists of three parts called control console, response button and runways where the LED lights move in a linear series (2.24 m). All LED lights (49 lights) are designed in a moving line in order to warn participants that dynamic stimulation is coming (4). Studies related to CAT showed that 3 mph was a “slow” stimulus speed and 8 mph was a “fast” stimulus speed (4, 17, 18, 19, 37, 53).

Reaction Time:Newtest 1000 Reaction Instrument (Model 90220 Finland): Visual (light), auditory (sound) and mixed (light or sound) reaction times of the volleyball players for dominant hand were measured with the Newtest 1/1000 sensitive reaction timer in a quiet, and well-lit enviroment.

Collection of Data
The measurements of the study were carried out by researchers between the hours of 09.00 and 12.00 am. Preliminary interviews were made with the volleyball players and detailed information was given about the content, method of the study, and Bassin Anticipation Timing device. Height and body weight measurements of the participants were collected. Parrticipants were then taken to a quiet and calm environment one by one and their CAT performances were measured at two different stimulus speeds [Slow: 3 mph (1.34 m/s): and Fast: 8 mph (3.58 m/s)]. Stimulus speed was presented in a random order. Visual (light), auditory (sound) and mixed (light or sound) reaction times were determined in the same environment after completing CAT measurements.In this study, for each different stimulus speed, the 49th light of the device (including the warning light) was chosen as the target light. In order to minimize the possibility of the participants predicting the timing of the the start of the trial, the starting light (the visual warning system) was adjusted in a random manner for a minimum delay of 1 second, and maximum delay of 2 seconds (18). The device was placed on the table and the participant stood close to the device (see Figure 1). The signal was sent by the conductor of the study for each trial. The participants were asked to stop the moving light signal on the device in such a manner that they would be as close to the target light at the arrival time of the signal, as possible. After the participant pressed the button, the value was read from the control panel in the hands of the researcher. The participants were asked to use their dominant hands when the CAT was measured. Each subject was given three trials at each stimulus speed before starting the actual measurement. Ten measurements were taken from each stimulus speed (Slow and Fast). Stimulus speeds were randomized throughout the total of 20 trials (see Table 1) and the results were recorded in early or late milliseconds (ms). No information was provided to participants about stimulus speed. The obtained raw data was converted to absolute error score and used for statistical evaluation.

Figure 1. Coinciding Anticipation Timing Device

Table 1. Example of Stimulus Speeds in a Random Order for Middle and Outside Players

12345678910
3mph8mph8mph3mph8mph3mph8mph3mph8mph8mph
11121314151617181920
8mph3mph3mph8mph3mph8mph3mph8mph3mph3mph

Absolute error was the measure of overall performance accuracy (7) and determined by the magnitude of the error (28, 30). The deviation from the performance criterion or goal was deduced for each performance trial regardless of plus (late) or minus (early). Absolute scores were summed and then averaged. The value of absolute error represents the average error comitted during a series of performance attempts evaluated without reference to the direction of error (20) and is frequently used in studies related to CAT (12, 16, 17, 53)

The Newtest 1000 was placed 10 cm away from the participant on the table and the athlete was requested to put the dominant hand on the table. With “Ready” command, when the sound or light stimulus was given, athletes were asked to press buttons as soon as possible according to stimuli. Ten measurements were taken and the lowest 2 and highest 2 scores were not evaluated. The average of 6 scores was recorded as the reaction time in ms (59).

Data Analysis: The data was evaluated for statistical analysis in SPSS 18.0 program (10). A one-tailed Independent Sample t Test was used to compare the CAT and reaction time of volleyball players according to their positions. The level of significance was accepted as p < 0.05.

The age, height, body weight and body mass index of all participants were collected (see Table 2 for results broken down by position). A Shapiro-Wilk test was used to determine whether the data showed normal distribution. According to Shapiro-Wilk test, all variables showed normal distribution (see Table 3)

The aim of this study was to compare the CAT and reaction times of adolescent volleyball players according to different playing positions. In high-level ball sports, successful performance involves accurate anticipation of oncoming events under severe temporal constraints (38, 58). When the absolute error scores of volleyball players were compared according to their playing positions, the only statistically significant difference was found in absolute error score at the Fast stimulus speed (t = -2.090, p = .047) (see Table 4). When reaction times of volleyball players was compared according to their playing positions, only statistically significant difference was found in mixed reaction time (t = -2.090, p = .047) (see Table 5).

Table 2. The age, height, body weight and body mass index values of volleyball players participating in the study

Playing Possition N M±S.D.
Age (years) Middle 14 15.35 ± 0.92
Outside 14 14.64 ± 0.84
Height (cm) Middle 14 166.50 ± 6.38
Outside 14 162.53 ± 7.36
Body Mass (kg) Middle 14 59.43 ± 8.64
Outside 14 57.40 ± 11.37
Body Mass Index (kg/m 2 ) Middle 14 21.34 ± 1.93
Outside 14 21.59 ± 3.27

Table 3. Shapiro-Wilk test results of coinciding anticipation timing and reaction time according to playing position

VariablesPlaying Possition Shapiro-Wilk
StatisticdfSig.
Absolute Error Score (Slow)Middle0.877140.053
Outside0.968140.856
Absolute Error Score (Fast)Middle0.875140.050
Outside0.899140.109
Visual Reaction TimeMiddle0.956140.656
Outside0.927140.273
Auditory Reaction TimeMiddle0.895140.096
Outside0.957140.673
Mixed Reaction TimeMiddle0.957140.677
Outside0.971140.891

Table 4. Comparison of absolute error scores of middle and outside players at different stimulus speed (3 mph and 8 mph)

PossitionNM ± S.D.tp
Absolute Error Score (Slow) (ms)Middle1416.00 ± 4.43-.391.699
Outside14 16.77 ± 5.89
Absolute Error Score (Fast) (ms)Middle1434.84 ± 10.31-2.090.047*
Outside1443.24 ± 10.93

Table 5. Comparison of reaction times (visual, auditory and mixed) of middle players and outside players

PossitionNM±S.D.tp
Visual Reaction Time (ms)Middle14420.7 ± 74.471.035.310
Outside14395.7 ± 51.25
Auditory Reaction Time (ms)Middle14308.6 ± 44.87-1.661.109
Outside14344.3 ± 66.76
Mixed Reaction Time (ms)Middle14410 ± 74.11-2.163.040*
Outside14465.7 ± 61.61

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

It was found that the mixed reaction times and CAT performances at the Fast stimulus speed of middle players were better than outside players. The findings of this study were in parallel with the previous studies conducted by Maciel et al. (40) and Zhou (62). Middle players had better CAT and reaction time than outside players can be explained as follows middle players, in addition to controlling the opponent’s setter in defense, are also the first and most important defense player with the blocks in three different regions of the court. They accurately analyze the actual positions, and can easily reach the desired result if they perform the anticipation and reaction ability successfully. The outside players are primarily responsible for defending over the net in their current position. Relative to the middle players, they take less responsibility. The offensive characteristics of the middle players are different from the outside players. Although there are different variations in their attack types, they make sudden and ending attacks. In this context, they have to communicate very well in seconds with both setter and other teammates. Their perceptual abilities must be very high and their motoric characteristics must be well developed. The attack characteristics of the outside players are more uniform.

Gabbett et al. (21) and Larkin et al. (36) demonstrated that video-based perceptual training improved decision accuracy, decision time and anticipatory skill. In order to achieve a high level of performance, in addition to volleyball training, it is thought that special exercises or video-based perceptual training should be done to improve the performance of the CAT and reaction time. In future studies, it is recommended to repeat this study increasing the number of samples in different age groups, different categories and elite athletes considering other playing positions (setter, libero, opposite) in volleyball players


Reaction time

Changes with age

Psychomotor learning

…based on such measures as reaction time or errors reflect the learner’s improvement by a series of decreasing scores, giving an inverted picture of Figure 1. Tracking scores from the two sexes are seen in Figure 1. Other devices have yielded more complicated functions—e.g., S-shaped curves for complex multiple-choice problems…

…learning (3) oxygen deficiency slows reaction time, especially when the atmosphere corresponds to altitudes of 20,000 feet or higher (4) accelerations of the body in a centrifuge or rotating platform disrupt postural coordination and produce systematic shifts in the perception of the vertical (5) although such people as acrobats, dancers,…

Sensorimotor skills

In the laboratory, a subject’s reaction time is measured as the time between the presentation of some kind of stimulus and the performer’s initial response. The individual’s speed of reaction depends upon a number of variables, including the intensity of the stimuli. For example, a person will initiate a movement…


Summary and Hypotheses

The characterization of intra-individual variability in ADHD is important to mechanistic theories of the disorder. Theories linking RT variability to possible underlying neural mechanisms have emphasized specific low-frequency patterns of variability. The current paper reports two studies that assess support for the low-frequency hypothesis. In Study 1, we conduct a quantitative review of published research that applied frequency-domain analyses to RT data to evaluate the pooled ESs for group differences in different frequency bands, including one in the range π.08 Hz. Building on those results, in Study 2 we examine patterns of variability in a new sample of children with and without ADHD to evaluate replication of the quantitative review results.


Simple and choice reaction time tasks

In cognitive experimental psychology, we distinguish between simple and choice response time tasks. These two terms are being used in many books papers about cognitive psychology. This lesson explains and demonstrates what we mean with simple and choice response time tasks.

Simple Response Time task (SRT)

There is just one stimulus, and when it appears, you need to respond with the one response there is in this type of experiment

Every time you see a light go on, you need to press the space bar of your computer keyboard. Or the athlete starting to run when the starting gun goes off.

Choice Response Time task (CRT)

There are multiple stimuli, and each stimulus requires a different response

You will see one of 10 letters presented. Each time you see the letter, you need to press the corresponding letter key of your keyboard.

People (and animals) can respond a lot faster when there is just one stimulus and one response type (Simple Response Time task). Also, the more stimuli and responses there are, the slower you get (this is known as Hick’s law).

Generally speaking, when there is just one stimulus and one response, many people can respond well below 200 ms, that is less than 1/5th of a second! In choice response time tasks with 2 stimuli and 2 responses (that is the simplest possible choice response time task), responding within 250 ms is probably the fastest you can do, but more typically people have an average response somewhere between 350 and 450 ms. Again, a multitude of factors can influence this, including the exact type of stimulus and response mode.

It is now well established that a person’s response speed is influenced by age and general intelligence (e.g., Deary, Liewald, and Nissan, 2011). It is important to note that many other factors play a role as well, for example the conditions under which you perform the task (are you fit or tired, are you hungry, etc). Also, your speed depends on how accurate you aim to be. If you do not want to make mistakes, you will become slower. This is known as the speed-accuracy trade off (this goes back to the work of Woodworth, 1899 for a good review see Heitz, 2014).

It is important to understand that response times play a crucial role in experimental cognitive psychology. The basic idea is that response times reflect the time it takes to interpret a stimulus, get information from memory, initiate a muscle response, etc. Thus, response times can be used to find out how long basic thought processes take. This idea goes back to the work of the early experiment psychologists in the second half of the 19th century (when the term "cognitive psychology" did not even exist). One of the leading figures in this area of research was the Dutch ophthalmologist Franciscus Donders.


Mental Ability

10.4.2 Reaction Time

Another possible biological basis for individual differences in mental ability is the speed with which the brain can process information (an idea that goes back to the nineteenth century). One variable that potentially indicates this mental speed is reaction time . Measurements of reaction time involve assessment of how quickly a person can respond to a stimulus—for example, the time taken to release a button in response to a flash of light. Note that the response required in a reaction time task does not demand any complex thinking processes such as those demanded by actual tests of mental ability.

Typically, a reaction time task of the kind used by mental ability researchers would work as follows. The research participant sits in front of a table on which there are several computerized features, including a lightbulb (currently turned off) and a “home” button (where the participant's hand is resting). The task of the research participant is to watch the lightbulb for a flash of light, and then to react as quickly as possible, by moving his or her hand from the home button to another button located in front of the light. The researcher can then measure, using an electronic sensor under the home button, the duration of time that elapsed between the onset of the flash of light and the removal of the participant's hand from the home button. This time interval is the reaction time of the participant. 7 (See Fig. 10.4 for examples of reaction time tasks.)

Figure 10.4 . Reaction time tasks.

In each of the tasks, the respondent begins with his or her hand on the “home” button. When one or more of the lights flashes, he or she must move his or her hand as quickly as possible toward one of those flashing lights, according to the specific instructions of the task. In the simple reaction time task, there is only one light. In the choice reaction time task, any one of several lights might flash, and the respondent must move toward the light that does flash. In the “odd-man-out” reaction time task, three lights will flash (two adjacent and one other) and the respondent must move toward the other light.

Some reaction time tasks are more complicated than the basic task described previously, which is known as a “simple” reaction time task. A variation known as a “choice” reaction time task uses not one but several lightbulbs, any one of which might suddenly be turned on (see Fig. 10.4 ). This task is difficult, because the participant must pay attention to more than one light and also because the participant must “choose”—based on which light does actually flash—the correct direction in which to move his or her hand. Yet another variation is known as the “odd-man-out” reaction time task, in which there are several lightbulbs in front of the participant, three of which will suddenly flash together (see Fig. 10.4 ). In this task, two of those three flashing bulbs are next to each other, but the third (the “odd-man-out”) is separated from them by one or more nonflashing bulbs the job of the participant is to move his or her hand toward the button that is immediately in front of the “odd-man-out” bulb.

Note that, when reaction times are measured using tasks such as these, each participant would be measured on several attempts for each task. This allows a reliable average score to be calculated for each participant on each reaction time task, which in turn allows a meaningful examination of correlations between reaction time and other variables, such as mental ability test scores. The correlations between IQ and reaction time are often around −.30 (for simple reaction time tasks) or stronger (for choice reaction time tasks) (e.g., Deary, Der, & Ford, 2001 Johnson & Deary, 2011 Luciano et al., 2004 ). (Apparently, the more complicated reaction time tasks are slightly better indicators of mental ability than are the simpler varieties.) These correlations indicate that longer (slower) reaction times are associated with lower scores on tests of mental ability, and they support the idea that the speed of the brain and nervous system is part of the basis for the g factor of mental ability (see, e.g., Detterman, 1987 ).


History of the field [ edit | edit source ]

Physical scientists such as Archimedes and philosophers such as Aristotle conducted many observations involving aspects of chronometric measurement however the tools or impetus to measure cognitive reaction time apparently was not developed, or simply has not left a significant traceable thread in the literature. The literature in other fields, e.g., epigraphical evidence, remnants of papyri, sherds, and other source material is uncertain and warrants additional investigation. An understanding of physical reaction time is critical for fields such as ballistics, archery, athletics and the physical sciences in order to estimate and measure.

Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī was the first to describe the concept of reaction time: Ώ]

"Not only is every sensation attended this by a corresponding change localized in the sense-organ, which demands a certain time, but also, between the stimulation of the organ and consciousness of the perception an interval of time must elapse, corresponding to the transmission of stimulus for some distance along the nerves."

Franciscus Donders was among the first to systematically analyze human RT to measure the duration of mental operations.


Attention: reaction time and accuracy reveal different mechanisms

The authors propose that there are 2 different mechanisms whereby spatial cues capture attention. The voluntary mechanism is the strategic allocation of perceptual resources to the location most likely to contain the target. The involuntary mechanism is a reflexive orienting response that occurs even when the spatial cue does not indicate the probable target location. Voluntary attention enhances the perceptual representation of the stimulus in the cued location relative to other locations. Hence, voluntary attention affects performance in experiments designed around both accuracy and reaction time. Involuntary attention affects a decision as to which location should be responded to. Because involuntary attention does not change the perceptual representation, it affects performance in reaction time experiments but not accuracy experiments. The authors obtained this pattern of results in 4 different versions of the spatial cuing paradigm.


What is Reaction time method? - Psychology

This museum traces the history of reaction time research. It is a subdivision of the MUSEUM OF THE HISTORY OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INSTRUMENTATION which includes many downloadable descriptions and pictures of the wide variety of instruments used by early psychologists in their task of studying the mind and behavior.

OVERVIEW OF THE MAIN MUSEUM

Starting with descriptions and pictures from an early German catalog of psychological and physiological apparatus, the main museum is growing by developing historical threads that trace the development of knowledge in the major areas of psychological inquiry and which show the apparatus associated with each area. We feel that it is appropriate that the first such thread traces the first truly scientific experiments in psychology which were designed to provide accurate and reproduceable measurements of mental processes.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND ORIGINS OF REACTION TIME RESEARCH

(Much of the information in this historical thread comes from a paper entitled: 'The Calibration of Minds and Machines in Late 19th Century Psychology' by Ruth Benschop and Douwe Draaisma of the Department of History and Theory of Psychology at the University of Groningen, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, 9736 BW Groningen The Netherlands.)

Interest in the measurement of human reaction time (the time elapsing between the onset of a stimulus and the onset of a response to that stimulus) apparently began as a result of the work of a Dutch physiologist named F. C. Donders. Beginning in 1865, Donders became interested in the question of whether the time taken to perform basic mental processes could be measured. Until that time, mental processes had been thought to be too fast to be measurable.

In his early experiments, Donders applied electric shocks to the right and left feet of his subjects. The subject's task was to respond by pressing a telegraph key with his right or left hand to indicate whether his right or left foot had received the shock. In one experimental condition the subject knew 'in advance' which foot was to receive the electric shock and in the other condition the subject did not know 'in advance' which foot was to receive the shock. Donders found that the difference between the two conditions was 1/15 second. This measurement represented the very first time that the human mind had been measured. Donders was apparantly aware of the importance of his discovery because he wrote: "This was the first determination of the duration of a well-defined mental process. It concerned the decision in a choice and an action of the will in response to that decision."

Donders' ability to accurately measure such a short time interval was greatly facilitated by the solution of an earlier military problem. In 1840, the Englishman Charles Wheatstone invented a device for measuring the velocity of artillery shells. The device, which was based on his early electric telegraph system, was started electrically when the projectile left the muzzle of a gun and stopped electrically when it struck the target.

By 1842, a Swiss watchmaker named Mathias Hipp had improved on Wheatstone's design and began selling an instrument which used a tuning fork-like spring which vibrated at 500 Hz to repetitively engage the teeth of a wheel and thus regulate the speed of revolution of the wheel. Later models of his 'Hipp Chronoscope' had vibrating regulators which vibrated at 1000 Hz. This improved their accuracy.

The clockwork mechanism of the Hipp Chronoscope was caused to rotate continuously by a motor powered by a heavy weight. At the start of a reaction-time measuring trial, the mechanism was set in motion but prevented from moving the indicating hands on its dial by a clutch which was held in the disengaged position by an electrically-energized solenoid. When the electrical current through the solenoid was interrupted, the clutch engaged and the dial rotated rapidly. When the current was reestablished, the clutch disengaged and the dial stopped at a reading which showed the elapsed time in thousandths of a second.
An example of a Hipp Chronoscope from The Barnard College Psychology Department History of Psychology Collection.

Although Donders did not continue to pursue his interest in the reaction time, Willhelm Wundt built an elaborate laboratory and research program around measuring the time taken by various mental processes. A student of the eminent and meticulous researchers, Hermann von Helmholtz and Emil Du Bois-Reymond, Wundt designed a psychology laboratory in Leipzig which was to become the model for dozens of scientific psychology laboratories throughout the world. His focus on the precise measurement of psychological processes or "MENTAL CHRONOMETRY" became the central issue in psychological research from the 1870's certainly into the 1950's. His insistence on precision of measurement has continued to influence the design of psychological experiments to the present.

Although the date 1879 is often given as the date of establishment of Wundt's first laboratory in Leipzig, it is clear that he was busy designing and performing precise measurements of human reaction times far earlier. His book: 'Grundzuge der physiologischen Psychologie' appeared in 1873 and contained a great deal of information about this new kind of psychological research.

PROBLEMS WITH OBTAINING ACCURATE REACTION TIMES

The Hipp Chronoscope was unfortunately prone to a number of serious problems which tended to produce inaccurate readings. Such inaccuracies were unacceptable to well trained students of Helmholtz such as Wundt and great efforts were expended in his laboratory to study the source of these errors and to correct them.

One major problem was that the vibrating spring escapement would, at unpredictable times begin to vibrate an octave lower at half its usual speed. This shift in vibration speed was often audible to the experimenter who would discard the data from that reaction time trial but the problem persisted and no solution was ever found. Experimenters simply had to listen closely to the pitch of the tone made by the machine and be ready to discard trials when the tone changed.

Another problem was caused by the time it took for the electric current to release and pull-in the solenoid which operated the clutch. The RELEASE TIME was highly dependent on the applied voltage. Low voltages allowed the mechanism to release immediately as soon as the voltage was removed from the coil. Higher voltages induced stronger magnetic fields into the core of the coil which took longer to decay after the voltage was removed and which held the clutch disengaged for a longer time after the voltage was removed. The PULL-IN TIME was also highly dependent on the applied voltage. Low voltages pulled in the mechanism slowly due to the fact that they built up sufficient magnetic flux to operate the clutch slowly. High voltages pulled in the mechanism rapidly due to the fact that they built up magnetic flux rapidly. To help with this problem, the Hipp Chronoscope was always used in conjunction with a voltmeter which helped to assure that the same voltage was being applied to the coils on every trial.

However, since 'wet' chemical batteries were used, the amount of current that they could provide varied throughout the day as did their voltage and this led to considerable variability in the measurements.

These problems were percieved as major obstacles to the development of a precise 'science' of psychology as the developing field of psychology struggled to portray itself as a science with a rigorous scientific method on a par with that of the natural sciences.

THE CONTROL HAMMER

Another device was invented to act as a calibration standard for the Hipp Chronoscope. It was designed to produce an absolutely accurate interval of time between opening its electrical contacts and closing them. It was called the 'CONTROL HAMMER' and it was quite literally a falling hammer-like weight which opened and closed electrical contacts as it fell by them. An electromagnet released the hammer and it fell past one electrical contact which opened the circuit to the Hipp Chronoscope, engaging its clutch and starting it measuring time. When the hammer fell past a second electrical contact, the circuit was closed. This disengaged the clutch on the Hipp Chronoscope and stopped its dial from moving. The 'control hammer' was supposed to provide an absolutely reliable time interval which could be used to calibrate and check on the operation of the Hipp Chronoscope.

Unfortunately, the control hammer itself needed to be calibrated. In order to know exactly how long the 'constant' interval provided by the control hammer was, another device which could accurately measure extremely small time intervals was needed. This device was the 'chronograph'.

THE CHRONOGRAPH

The chronograph consisted of a rotating cylinder covered with a soot-smoked piece of paper. The black soot on the paper allowed a beard-hair to leave a mark on the paper as the cylinder rotated. The beard hair was glued to a tuning fork which vibrated at exactly 1000 Hz (vibrations-per-second). Thus, a wavy line was drawn on the smoked paper with each wave indicating the passage of 1 millisecond (1/1000 second).

Lightweight electrical solenoids put other marks on the paper when the clutch of the Hipp Chronoscope was engaged and disengaged by the control hammer apparatus and the number of waves on the paper which separated these marks indicated the time duration in milliseconds.

The chronograph, then, calibrated the control hammer which calibrated the Hipp Chronoscope which measured the reaction times of the subject.

WUNDT'S RESEARCH

Although a significant portion of each day was spent in laboriously calibrating the Hipp Chronoscopes, Wundt gradually collected measurements of a wide variety of mental phenomena.

Additional threads tracing the history of other types of psychological research will be added shortly !

LINKS TO OTHER SITES:

The Barnard College Psychology Department History of Psychology Collection. This on-line internet museum contains lots of photographs and descriptions of early psychological research apparatus.

Thomas B. Perera Ph. D.
Professor Emeritus of Psychology
Department of Psychology
Montclair State University

  • For additional information you may contact Dr. Thomas Perera:
  • Email: (Please type my email address as follows with no spaces between words:)
  • Type: pererat
  • Then type the @ symbol
  • Then type: mail.montclair.edu
  • (It should look like this: pererat(type the @ symbol here)mail.montclair.edu
  • Go to Tom Perera's Professional Psychology Home Page.
  • Go to Tom Perera's Internet On-Line Telegraph & Scientific Instrument Cyber-Museum:

NOTE: Dr. Haupt died of cancer in February, 2001.
Edward J. Haupt Ph. D.
Professor of Psychology Department of Psychology
Montclair State University
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043


Engineering

Reaction Time

The reaction time defines the necessary time to identify the situation, decide the kind of reaction, and start the action through activation of certain muscles. The reaction time depends on many parameters, such as age, tiredness, and also on parameters which are difficult to estimate, for example, an eye blink may enlarge the reaction time by approximately 0.2 s. One aspect, which is also of greatest importance, is the visibility of the object. In the case of low contrasts or small light differences, reaction time may increase dramatically. This is the reason why so many pedestrian accidents occur during nighttime. In addition, there is a significant difference if the resulting action has to be done by the arms or by the legs. Due to the longer distance between brain and leg, an action being performed with the leg will require a significantly longer reaction time.

Typical reaction times are between 0.5 and 1.5 s. Racing drivers are known to react during the race within a time of 0.3 s.


Reaction time

Changes with age

Psychomotor learning

…based on such measures as reaction time or errors reflect the learner’s improvement by a series of decreasing scores, giving an inverted picture of Figure 1. Tracking scores from the two sexes are seen in Figure 1. Other devices have yielded more complicated functions—e.g., S-shaped curves for complex multiple-choice problems…

…learning (3) oxygen deficiency slows reaction time, especially when the atmosphere corresponds to altitudes of 20,000 feet or higher (4) accelerations of the body in a centrifuge or rotating platform disrupt postural coordination and produce systematic shifts in the perception of the vertical (5) although such people as acrobats, dancers,…

Sensorimotor skills

In the laboratory, a subject’s reaction time is measured as the time between the presentation of some kind of stimulus and the performer’s initial response. The individual’s speed of reaction depends upon a number of variables, including the intensity of the stimuli. For example, a person will initiate a movement…


Mental Ability

10.4.2 Reaction Time

Another possible biological basis for individual differences in mental ability is the speed with which the brain can process information (an idea that goes back to the nineteenth century). One variable that potentially indicates this mental speed is reaction time . Measurements of reaction time involve assessment of how quickly a person can respond to a stimulus—for example, the time taken to release a button in response to a flash of light. Note that the response required in a reaction time task does not demand any complex thinking processes such as those demanded by actual tests of mental ability.

Typically, a reaction time task of the kind used by mental ability researchers would work as follows. The research participant sits in front of a table on which there are several computerized features, including a lightbulb (currently turned off) and a “home” button (where the participant's hand is resting). The task of the research participant is to watch the lightbulb for a flash of light, and then to react as quickly as possible, by moving his or her hand from the home button to another button located in front of the light. The researcher can then measure, using an electronic sensor under the home button, the duration of time that elapsed between the onset of the flash of light and the removal of the participant's hand from the home button. This time interval is the reaction time of the participant. 7 (See Fig. 10.4 for examples of reaction time tasks.)

Figure 10.4 . Reaction time tasks.

In each of the tasks, the respondent begins with his or her hand on the “home” button. When one or more of the lights flashes, he or she must move his or her hand as quickly as possible toward one of those flashing lights, according to the specific instructions of the task. In the simple reaction time task, there is only one light. In the choice reaction time task, any one of several lights might flash, and the respondent must move toward the light that does flash. In the “odd-man-out” reaction time task, three lights will flash (two adjacent and one other) and the respondent must move toward the other light.

Some reaction time tasks are more complicated than the basic task described previously, which is known as a “simple” reaction time task. A variation known as a “choice” reaction time task uses not one but several lightbulbs, any one of which might suddenly be turned on (see Fig. 10.4 ). This task is difficult, because the participant must pay attention to more than one light and also because the participant must “choose”—based on which light does actually flash—the correct direction in which to move his or her hand. Yet another variation is known as the “odd-man-out” reaction time task, in which there are several lightbulbs in front of the participant, three of which will suddenly flash together (see Fig. 10.4 ). In this task, two of those three flashing bulbs are next to each other, but the third (the “odd-man-out”) is separated from them by one or more nonflashing bulbs the job of the participant is to move his or her hand toward the button that is immediately in front of the “odd-man-out” bulb.

Note that, when reaction times are measured using tasks such as these, each participant would be measured on several attempts for each task. This allows a reliable average score to be calculated for each participant on each reaction time task, which in turn allows a meaningful examination of correlations between reaction time and other variables, such as mental ability test scores. The correlations between IQ and reaction time are often around −.30 (for simple reaction time tasks) or stronger (for choice reaction time tasks) (e.g., Deary, Der, & Ford, 2001 Johnson & Deary, 2011 Luciano et al., 2004 ). (Apparently, the more complicated reaction time tasks are slightly better indicators of mental ability than are the simpler varieties.) These correlations indicate that longer (slower) reaction times are associated with lower scores on tests of mental ability, and they support the idea that the speed of the brain and nervous system is part of the basis for the g factor of mental ability (see, e.g., Detterman, 1987 ).


History of the field [ edit | edit source ]

Physical scientists such as Archimedes and philosophers such as Aristotle conducted many observations involving aspects of chronometric measurement however the tools or impetus to measure cognitive reaction time apparently was not developed, or simply has not left a significant traceable thread in the literature. The literature in other fields, e.g., epigraphical evidence, remnants of papyri, sherds, and other source material is uncertain and warrants additional investigation. An understanding of physical reaction time is critical for fields such as ballistics, archery, athletics and the physical sciences in order to estimate and measure.

Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī was the first to describe the concept of reaction time: Ώ]

"Not only is every sensation attended this by a corresponding change localized in the sense-organ, which demands a certain time, but also, between the stimulation of the organ and consciousness of the perception an interval of time must elapse, corresponding to the transmission of stimulus for some distance along the nerves."

Franciscus Donders was among the first to systematically analyze human RT to measure the duration of mental operations.


Engineering

Reaction Time

The reaction time defines the necessary time to identify the situation, decide the kind of reaction, and start the action through activation of certain muscles. The reaction time depends on many parameters, such as age, tiredness, and also on parameters which are difficult to estimate, for example, an eye blink may enlarge the reaction time by approximately 0.2 s. One aspect, which is also of greatest importance, is the visibility of the object. In the case of low contrasts or small light differences, reaction time may increase dramatically. This is the reason why so many pedestrian accidents occur during nighttime. In addition, there is a significant difference if the resulting action has to be done by the arms or by the legs. Due to the longer distance between brain and leg, an action being performed with the leg will require a significantly longer reaction time.

Typical reaction times are between 0.5 and 1.5 s. Racing drivers are known to react during the race within a time of 0.3 s.


What is Reaction time method? - Psychology

This museum traces the history of reaction time research. It is a subdivision of the MUSEUM OF THE HISTORY OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INSTRUMENTATION which includes many downloadable descriptions and pictures of the wide variety of instruments used by early psychologists in their task of studying the mind and behavior.

OVERVIEW OF THE MAIN MUSEUM

Starting with descriptions and pictures from an early German catalog of psychological and physiological apparatus, the main museum is growing by developing historical threads that trace the development of knowledge in the major areas of psychological inquiry and which show the apparatus associated with each area. We feel that it is appropriate that the first such thread traces the first truly scientific experiments in psychology which were designed to provide accurate and reproduceable measurements of mental processes.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND ORIGINS OF REACTION TIME RESEARCH

(Much of the information in this historical thread comes from a paper entitled: 'The Calibration of Minds and Machines in Late 19th Century Psychology' by Ruth Benschop and Douwe Draaisma of the Department of History and Theory of Psychology at the University of Groningen, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, 9736 BW Groningen The Netherlands.)

Interest in the measurement of human reaction time (the time elapsing between the onset of a stimulus and the onset of a response to that stimulus) apparently began as a result of the work of a Dutch physiologist named F. C. Donders. Beginning in 1865, Donders became interested in the question of whether the time taken to perform basic mental processes could be measured. Until that time, mental processes had been thought to be too fast to be measurable.

In his early experiments, Donders applied electric shocks to the right and left feet of his subjects. The subject's task was to respond by pressing a telegraph key with his right or left hand to indicate whether his right or left foot had received the shock. In one experimental condition the subject knew 'in advance' which foot was to receive the electric shock and in the other condition the subject did not know 'in advance' which foot was to receive the shock. Donders found that the difference between the two conditions was 1/15 second. This measurement represented the very first time that the human mind had been measured. Donders was apparantly aware of the importance of his discovery because he wrote: "This was the first determination of the duration of a well-defined mental process. It concerned the decision in a choice and an action of the will in response to that decision."

Donders' ability to accurately measure such a short time interval was greatly facilitated by the solution of an earlier military problem. In 1840, the Englishman Charles Wheatstone invented a device for measuring the velocity of artillery shells. The device, which was based on his early electric telegraph system, was started electrically when the projectile left the muzzle of a gun and stopped electrically when it struck the target.

By 1842, a Swiss watchmaker named Mathias Hipp had improved on Wheatstone's design and began selling an instrument which used a tuning fork-like spring which vibrated at 500 Hz to repetitively engage the teeth of a wheel and thus regulate the speed of revolution of the wheel. Later models of his 'Hipp Chronoscope' had vibrating regulators which vibrated at 1000 Hz. This improved their accuracy.

The clockwork mechanism of the Hipp Chronoscope was caused to rotate continuously by a motor powered by a heavy weight. At the start of a reaction-time measuring trial, the mechanism was set in motion but prevented from moving the indicating hands on its dial by a clutch which was held in the disengaged position by an electrically-energized solenoid. When the electrical current through the solenoid was interrupted, the clutch engaged and the dial rotated rapidly. When the current was reestablished, the clutch disengaged and the dial stopped at a reading which showed the elapsed time in thousandths of a second.
An example of a Hipp Chronoscope from The Barnard College Psychology Department History of Psychology Collection.

Although Donders did not continue to pursue his interest in the reaction time, Willhelm Wundt built an elaborate laboratory and research program around measuring the time taken by various mental processes. A student of the eminent and meticulous researchers, Hermann von Helmholtz and Emil Du Bois-Reymond, Wundt designed a psychology laboratory in Leipzig which was to become the model for dozens of scientific psychology laboratories throughout the world. His focus on the precise measurement of psychological processes or "MENTAL CHRONOMETRY" became the central issue in psychological research from the 1870's certainly into the 1950's. His insistence on precision of measurement has continued to influence the design of psychological experiments to the present.

Although the date 1879 is often given as the date of establishment of Wundt's first laboratory in Leipzig, it is clear that he was busy designing and performing precise measurements of human reaction times far earlier. His book: 'Grundzuge der physiologischen Psychologie' appeared in 1873 and contained a great deal of information about this new kind of psychological research.

PROBLEMS WITH OBTAINING ACCURATE REACTION TIMES

The Hipp Chronoscope was unfortunately prone to a number of serious problems which tended to produce inaccurate readings. Such inaccuracies were unacceptable to well trained students of Helmholtz such as Wundt and great efforts were expended in his laboratory to study the source of these errors and to correct them.

One major problem was that the vibrating spring escapement would, at unpredictable times begin to vibrate an octave lower at half its usual speed. This shift in vibration speed was often audible to the experimenter who would discard the data from that reaction time trial but the problem persisted and no solution was ever found. Experimenters simply had to listen closely to the pitch of the tone made by the machine and be ready to discard trials when the tone changed.

Another problem was caused by the time it took for the electric current to release and pull-in the solenoid which operated the clutch. The RELEASE TIME was highly dependent on the applied voltage. Low voltages allowed the mechanism to release immediately as soon as the voltage was removed from the coil. Higher voltages induced stronger magnetic fields into the core of the coil which took longer to decay after the voltage was removed and which held the clutch disengaged for a longer time after the voltage was removed. The PULL-IN TIME was also highly dependent on the applied voltage. Low voltages pulled in the mechanism slowly due to the fact that they built up sufficient magnetic flux to operate the clutch slowly. High voltages pulled in the mechanism rapidly due to the fact that they built up magnetic flux rapidly. To help with this problem, the Hipp Chronoscope was always used in conjunction with a voltmeter which helped to assure that the same voltage was being applied to the coils on every trial.

However, since 'wet' chemical batteries were used, the amount of current that they could provide varied throughout the day as did their voltage and this led to considerable variability in the measurements.

These problems were percieved as major obstacles to the development of a precise 'science' of psychology as the developing field of psychology struggled to portray itself as a science with a rigorous scientific method on a par with that of the natural sciences.

THE CONTROL HAMMER

Another device was invented to act as a calibration standard for the Hipp Chronoscope. It was designed to produce an absolutely accurate interval of time between opening its electrical contacts and closing them. It was called the 'CONTROL HAMMER' and it was quite literally a falling hammer-like weight which opened and closed electrical contacts as it fell by them. An electromagnet released the hammer and it fell past one electrical contact which opened the circuit to the Hipp Chronoscope, engaging its clutch and starting it measuring time. When the hammer fell past a second electrical contact, the circuit was closed. This disengaged the clutch on the Hipp Chronoscope and stopped its dial from moving. The 'control hammer' was supposed to provide an absolutely reliable time interval which could be used to calibrate and check on the operation of the Hipp Chronoscope.

Unfortunately, the control hammer itself needed to be calibrated. In order to know exactly how long the 'constant' interval provided by the control hammer was, another device which could accurately measure extremely small time intervals was needed. This device was the 'chronograph'.

THE CHRONOGRAPH

The chronograph consisted of a rotating cylinder covered with a soot-smoked piece of paper. The black soot on the paper allowed a beard-hair to leave a mark on the paper as the cylinder rotated. The beard hair was glued to a tuning fork which vibrated at exactly 1000 Hz (vibrations-per-second). Thus, a wavy line was drawn on the smoked paper with each wave indicating the passage of 1 millisecond (1/1000 second).

Lightweight electrical solenoids put other marks on the paper when the clutch of the Hipp Chronoscope was engaged and disengaged by the control hammer apparatus and the number of waves on the paper which separated these marks indicated the time duration in milliseconds.

The chronograph, then, calibrated the control hammer which calibrated the Hipp Chronoscope which measured the reaction times of the subject.

WUNDT'S RESEARCH

Although a significant portion of each day was spent in laboriously calibrating the Hipp Chronoscopes, Wundt gradually collected measurements of a wide variety of mental phenomena.

Additional threads tracing the history of other types of psychological research will be added shortly !

LINKS TO OTHER SITES:

The Barnard College Psychology Department History of Psychology Collection. This on-line internet museum contains lots of photographs and descriptions of early psychological research apparatus.

Thomas B. Perera Ph. D.
Professor Emeritus of Psychology
Department of Psychology
Montclair State University

  • For additional information you may contact Dr. Thomas Perera:
  • Email: (Please type my email address as follows with no spaces between words:)
  • Type: pererat
  • Then type the @ symbol
  • Then type: mail.montclair.edu
  • (It should look like this: pererat(type the @ symbol here)mail.montclair.edu
  • Go to Tom Perera's Professional Psychology Home Page.
  • Go to Tom Perera's Internet On-Line Telegraph & Scientific Instrument Cyber-Museum:

NOTE: Dr. Haupt died of cancer in February, 2001.
Edward J. Haupt Ph. D.
Professor of Psychology Department of Psychology
Montclair State University
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043


Attention: reaction time and accuracy reveal different mechanisms

The authors propose that there are 2 different mechanisms whereby spatial cues capture attention. The voluntary mechanism is the strategic allocation of perceptual resources to the location most likely to contain the target. The involuntary mechanism is a reflexive orienting response that occurs even when the spatial cue does not indicate the probable target location. Voluntary attention enhances the perceptual representation of the stimulus in the cued location relative to other locations. Hence, voluntary attention affects performance in experiments designed around both accuracy and reaction time. Involuntary attention affects a decision as to which location should be responded to. Because involuntary attention does not change the perceptual representation, it affects performance in reaction time experiments but not accuracy experiments. The authors obtained this pattern of results in 4 different versions of the spatial cuing paradigm.


Summary and Hypotheses

The characterization of intra-individual variability in ADHD is important to mechanistic theories of the disorder. Theories linking RT variability to possible underlying neural mechanisms have emphasized specific low-frequency patterns of variability. The current paper reports two studies that assess support for the low-frequency hypothesis. In Study 1, we conduct a quantitative review of published research that applied frequency-domain analyses to RT data to evaluate the pooled ESs for group differences in different frequency bands, including one in the range π.08 Hz. Building on those results, in Study 2 we examine patterns of variability in a new sample of children with and without ADHD to evaluate replication of the quantitative review results.


Comparison of Coinciding Anticipation Timing and Reaction Time Performances of Adolescent Female Volleyball Players in Different Playing Positions

(1, 2, 4) Mugla Sitki Kocman University, Faculty of Sports Sciences, Turkey. (3) Gazi University, Faculty of Sports Sciences, Turkey.

Corresponding Author:
Halil Ibrahim Ceylan, Research Assistant
Mugla Sitki Kocman University, Faculty of Sports Sciences
Kotekli/Mugla, 48000
[email protected]
002522111951

(1) Ahmet Rahmi Günay is a lecturer and doctoral student at the Gazi University studying Health and Coaching Sciences. He is also a Volleyball trainer.

(2) Halil İbrahim Ceylan is a Research Assistant and doctoral student at the Mugla Sitki Kocman University studying Health and Coaching Sciences.

(3) Filiz Fatma Çolakoğlu is a Professor at the Gazi University studying Training Sciences.

(4) Ozcan Saygin is a Professor in Sports Exercise Science at the Mugla Sitki Kocman University studying physical activity and fitness

Comparison of Coinciding Anticipation Timing and Reaction Time Performances of Adolescent Female Volleyball Players in Different Playing Positions

The purpose of this study was to compare coinciding anticipation timing (CAT) and reaction time performance of adolescent female volleyball players in different playing positions. Twenty-eight adolescent volleyball players (14 Outside players and 14 Middle players), who played volleyball in licensed infrastructure leagues and trained 5 days a week regularly, with an average age of 15.0 ± 0.94 years, participated voluntarily. A Bassin Anticipation Timer was used to measure the CAT performance of the volleyball players at different stimulation speeds: Slow- 3 mph (1.34 m/s) and Fast- 8 mph (3.58 m/s). Visual, auditory, and mixed reaction times were measured with the Newtest 1000 Instrument. When the absolute error scores of volleyball players were compared according to playing positions, a statistically significant difference was found in the fast speed condition (t = -2.090, p = .047). A statistically significant difference was also observed in the mixed reaction time scores (t = -2.163, p = .040). Middle players had better CAT scores in the Fast condition and mixed reaction time performances than outside players. This is thought to be due to the different responsibilities of middle players in the game as compared with outside players. Because both offensive combinations and block responsibilities are more diversified for Middle players, CAT and reaction time performance of middle players are of greater importance. In order to reach top level performance, it is thought that a number of special exercises, in addition to volleyball training, should be done to improve the CAT performance. It is recommended to repeat the research in different age groups, different categories and different positions.

Keywords: Adolescent, Playing Position, Coinciding Anticipation Timing, Reaction Time, Volleyball

INTRODUCTION

Perceptual skills form the foundation of the ability to predict and react to a stimulus with an effective response. These skills are required for athletes to perform their motor skills competently in sports (34), especially in volleyball, where the game dynamics and short time of reaction to the changing situations are extremely important (46). Volleyball can be defined as a situational sport, requiring great adaptation capacity to the variables that continuously change (40). The players are excessively subject to arousal in the competition environment and need to predict and respond quickly in a limited time (62). “The ability to quickly see the incoming ball or change one’s position on the court decide whether a point is scored and, in the end, the game is won” (46, p 276). Volleyball players need to be at a sufficient level in terms of sensory and cognitive skills as well as physical and motor skills. Coinciding anticipation timing (CAT) and reaction time are an important sensory and cognitive skills (34, 50).

CAT refers to the ability to predict what is likely to happen before the event itself. It is also defined as the ability to read games and is very important in sports where decisions must be taken quickly before a opponent’s action (51). Two types of CAT performance can be mentioned in team sports. These are receptor and effector anticipation. For example, the estimation of the distance of the ball in the air when catching the ball is defined as receptor anticipation, while the calculation of the hands to be brought to the front of the body in order to catch the ball is defined as effector anticipation (43). Overall response time to a stimulus is greatly influenced by both receptor and effector anticipation (42). Reaction time is very important in sports and games where the movements of the players are conditioned by signals, by the movement of the ball or by the movements of the opponent (22). Reaction time which is one of the most important components in most activities, refers to the speed of decision making and movement. Success in most rapid movements depend on the speed of decision-making and movement of the athlete based on movements caused by the environment or competitor (54). CAT and reaction time are very important for players to evaluate the activities and positions of other players in team sports such as volleyball (50), basketball (60) and handball (52). In the sports played with a ball, it is essential to detect all information about the ball (position and velocity) in order to prepare the appropriate motor response (57), perform the necessary footwork, take the right position, and to get ready for a return shot (3). The ability of the athlete to take postural cues from the opponent’s body movements is also crucial for performance. (49). In addition, athletes involved in team sports can often predict the results of movement of another athlete based on visual information from other athletes’ body movements (15). CAT is very important in block performance (8) and predicting different types of attacks (62).

A shorter reaction time and more accurate anticipation ensure players an advantage for high performance in volleyball. There are studies examining CAT or reaction time in different sports such as, football (29, 53), basketball (1, 26, 41), handball (25, 39), tennis and table tennis (2, 3, 37, 56, 61), badminton (23), baseball and rugby (13, 48) and karate (45). In the literature, there are studies indicating the importance of reaction time (5, 33, 40, 47, 62) and both CAT and reaction time in volleyball (8, 32, 50, 51). There are limited studies that measure and compare the CAT and reaction time of volleyball players who play in different positions. This shows that the current study is important for the literature. In volleyball games, middle players have multi-faceted attack combinations and block responsibilities (44). Volleyball players reported that orientation and spatial position of the spiker relative to the ball to be hit, which are available just prior to hand-ball contact, are important cues in anticipating attack course (58). Ceylan and Gunay (11) compared the CAT of football, basketball and volleyball players. They reported that there was no statistically significant difference in the CAT. Perceptual-motor expertise may contribute to successful action anticipation (6, 9, 38). Canal-Bruland et al. (9), Kioumourtzoglou et al. (32), Takeyama et al. (58), Schorer et al. (55) found the ability to detect a moving object and the prediction accuracy of expert volleyball players were found to be higher as compared with novice volleyball players. Kioumourtzoglou et al. (31) indicated that volleyball expert players performed better on perceptual speed, focused attention, prediction, and estimation of speed and direction of a moving object. In one study, Nuri et al. (50) compared the CAT and reaction times of the volleyball players and the sprinters. He showed that volleyball players predicted the speed and timing of the ball better than the sprinters. In additon, auditory reaction time of the sprinters was found to be better than volleyball players. The reason for this is that volleyball players train in a dynamic environment where they constantly predict where the ball will be. Therefore, the predictive capabilities of the volleyball players related to the ball were improved. Zhou (62) stated that volleyball players playing in different roles used different strategies for visual search. They found that the main attack group and the supporting attack group athletes used more short search durations for gaze duration, and the accuracy of the prediction and judgment response were also higher than other playing positions. They suggested that the higher search speeds of main attackers and supporting attacks were related to higher neural activation intensity. Saygin et al. (53) examined the conciding anticipation performance of the football players. They indicated that goalkeeper had a better CAT performance than defender, midfielder and forward players.

Good cognitive characteristics, such as reaction time in volleyball, provide a better understanding of the game and leads to faster responses to actions (5). Zwierko et al. (63) reported that volleyball players (mean age: 22.86 ± 2.09 years) had better total reaction times to stimuli appearing in the central and peripheral field of vision compared to non-athletes. They found the reaction time of the volleyball players and non-athletes as 347.50 ± 36.37 ms, 407.83 ± 52.56 ms, respectively. They also noted that differences in the reaction time and in the speed of signal conductivity in visual pathways between athletes and non-athletes can be linked to the effect of the sports dynamic sensorimotor demands on the central nervous system (63). The better visuomotor reaction time of athletes as compared with non-athletes is associated with structural and functional adaptations in the central nervous system. Moreover, visuomotor reaction performance for athletes performing at high skill level depends on visual processes and especially on the structural and functional characteristics of the mid-temporal area sensitive to visual motion (27). Maciel et al. (40) compared the reaction times of volleyball players who played in different positions. They observed that the reaction time of central attackers and strong-side attackers were found to have faster reaction times due to the movement characteristics of their playing position. They also expressed that the reason why the center players performed better at reaction time test was related to the functional characteristics of the players. In line with previous findings (40), we hypothesized that middle players would be faster than the outside players in terms of CAT and reaction time. The aim of this study was to compare the CAT and reaction time performances of adolescent female volleyball players in different playing positions.

Participants
Twenty-eight adolescent females who had a training regularly 5 days a week and played volleyball at a University Sports Club participated in this study. Permission was obtained from the Sports Club before starting the study. The athletes who participated in the study signed the Informed Consent Form.

Instrumentation
Body Weight and Height: The body weight and height of volleyball players were performed by Seca brand measurement tool (0.01 kg and 0.01 cm sensitivity) (24).

Coincidence Anticipation Timing: Bassin Anticipation Timer (Lafayette Instrument Company, Model 35575) which was developed to test the area of visual acuity related to eye-hand coordination and coinciding anticipation by Stanley Bassin (35). Crocetta et al. (14) reported that The Bassin Anticipation Timer was the most used instrument to determine CAT in their review. The device consists of three parts called control console, response button and runways where the LED lights move in a linear series (2.24 m). All LED lights (49 lights) are designed in a moving line in order to warn participants that dynamic stimulation is coming (4). Studies related to CAT showed that 3 mph was a “slow” stimulus speed and 8 mph was a “fast” stimulus speed (4, 17, 18, 19, 37, 53).

Reaction Time:Newtest 1000 Reaction Instrument (Model 90220 Finland): Visual (light), auditory (sound) and mixed (light or sound) reaction times of the volleyball players for dominant hand were measured with the Newtest 1/1000 sensitive reaction timer in a quiet, and well-lit enviroment.

Collection of Data
The measurements of the study were carried out by researchers between the hours of 09.00 and 12.00 am. Preliminary interviews were made with the volleyball players and detailed information was given about the content, method of the study, and Bassin Anticipation Timing device. Height and body weight measurements of the participants were collected. Parrticipants were then taken to a quiet and calm environment one by one and their CAT performances were measured at two different stimulus speeds [Slow: 3 mph (1.34 m/s): and Fast: 8 mph (3.58 m/s)]. Stimulus speed was presented in a random order. Visual (light), auditory (sound) and mixed (light or sound) reaction times were determined in the same environment after completing CAT measurements.In this study, for each different stimulus speed, the 49th light of the device (including the warning light) was chosen as the target light. In order to minimize the possibility of the participants predicting the timing of the the start of the trial, the starting light (the visual warning system) was adjusted in a random manner for a minimum delay of 1 second, and maximum delay of 2 seconds (18). The device was placed on the table and the participant stood close to the device (see Figure 1). The signal was sent by the conductor of the study for each trial. The participants were asked to stop the moving light signal on the device in such a manner that they would be as close to the target light at the arrival time of the signal, as possible. After the participant pressed the button, the value was read from the control panel in the hands of the researcher. The participants were asked to use their dominant hands when the CAT was measured. Each subject was given three trials at each stimulus speed before starting the actual measurement. Ten measurements were taken from each stimulus speed (Slow and Fast). Stimulus speeds were randomized throughout the total of 20 trials (see Table 1) and the results were recorded in early or late milliseconds (ms). No information was provided to participants about stimulus speed. The obtained raw data was converted to absolute error score and used for statistical evaluation.

Figure 1. Coinciding Anticipation Timing Device

Table 1. Example of Stimulus Speeds in a Random Order for Middle and Outside Players

12345678910
3mph8mph8mph3mph8mph3mph8mph3mph8mph8mph
11121314151617181920
8mph3mph3mph8mph3mph8mph3mph8mph3mph3mph

Absolute error was the measure of overall performance accuracy (7) and determined by the magnitude of the error (28, 30). The deviation from the performance criterion or goal was deduced for each performance trial regardless of plus (late) or minus (early). Absolute scores were summed and then averaged. The value of absolute error represents the average error comitted during a series of performance attempts evaluated without reference to the direction of error (20) and is frequently used in studies related to CAT (12, 16, 17, 53)

The Newtest 1000 was placed 10 cm away from the participant on the table and the athlete was requested to put the dominant hand on the table. With “Ready” command, when the sound or light stimulus was given, athletes were asked to press buttons as soon as possible according to stimuli. Ten measurements were taken and the lowest 2 and highest 2 scores were not evaluated. The average of 6 scores was recorded as the reaction time in ms (59).

Data Analysis: The data was evaluated for statistical analysis in SPSS 18.0 program (10). A one-tailed Independent Sample t Test was used to compare the CAT and reaction time of volleyball players according to their positions. The level of significance was accepted as p < 0.05.

The age, height, body weight and body mass index of all participants were collected (see Table 2 for results broken down by position). A Shapiro-Wilk test was used to determine whether the data showed normal distribution. According to Shapiro-Wilk test, all variables showed normal distribution (see Table 3)

The aim of this study was to compare the CAT and reaction times of adolescent volleyball players according to different playing positions. In high-level ball sports, successful performance involves accurate anticipation of oncoming events under severe temporal constraints (38, 58). When the absolute error scores of volleyball players were compared according to their playing positions, the only statistically significant difference was found in absolute error score at the Fast stimulus speed (t = -2.090, p = .047) (see Table 4). When reaction times of volleyball players was compared according to their playing positions, only statistically significant difference was found in mixed reaction time (t = -2.090, p = .047) (see Table 5).

Table 2. The age, height, body weight and body mass index values of volleyball players participating in the study

Playing Possition N M±S.D.
Age (years) Middle 14 15.35 ± 0.92
Outside 14 14.64 ± 0.84
Height (cm) Middle 14 166.50 ± 6.38
Outside 14 162.53 ± 7.36
Body Mass (kg) Middle 14 59.43 ± 8.64
Outside 14 57.40 ± 11.37
Body Mass Index (kg/m 2 ) Middle 14 21.34 ± 1.93
Outside 14 21.59 ± 3.27

Table 3. Shapiro-Wilk test results of coinciding anticipation timing and reaction time according to playing position

VariablesPlaying Possition Shapiro-Wilk
StatisticdfSig.
Absolute Error Score (Slow)Middle0.877140.053
Outside0.968140.856
Absolute Error Score (Fast)Middle0.875140.050
Outside0.899140.109
Visual Reaction TimeMiddle0.956140.656
Outside0.927140.273
Auditory Reaction TimeMiddle0.895140.096
Outside0.957140.673
Mixed Reaction TimeMiddle0.957140.677
Outside0.971140.891

Table 4. Comparison of absolute error scores of middle and outside players at different stimulus speed (3 mph and 8 mph)

PossitionNM ± S.D.tp
Absolute Error Score (Slow) (ms)Middle1416.00 ± 4.43-.391.699
Outside14 16.77 ± 5.89
Absolute Error Score (Fast) (ms)Middle1434.84 ± 10.31-2.090.047*
Outside1443.24 ± 10.93

Table 5. Comparison of reaction times (visual, auditory and mixed) of middle players and outside players

PossitionNM±S.D.tp
Visual Reaction Time (ms)Middle14420.7 ± 74.471.035.310
Outside14395.7 ± 51.25
Auditory Reaction Time (ms)Middle14308.6 ± 44.87-1.661.109
Outside14344.3 ± 66.76
Mixed Reaction Time (ms)Middle14410 ± 74.11-2.163.040*
Outside14465.7 ± 61.61

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

It was found that the mixed reaction times and CAT performances at the Fast stimulus speed of middle players were better than outside players. The findings of this study were in parallel with the previous studies conducted by Maciel et al. (40) and Zhou (62). Middle players had better CAT and reaction time than outside players can be explained as follows middle players, in addition to controlling the opponent’s setter in defense, are also the first and most important defense player with the blocks in three different regions of the court. They accurately analyze the actual positions, and can easily reach the desired result if they perform the anticipation and reaction ability successfully. The outside players are primarily responsible for defending over the net in their current position. Relative to the middle players, they take less responsibility. The offensive characteristics of the middle players are different from the outside players. Although there are different variations in their attack types, they make sudden and ending attacks. In this context, they have to communicate very well in seconds with both setter and other teammates. Their perceptual abilities must be very high and their motoric characteristics must be well developed. The attack characteristics of the outside players are more uniform.

Gabbett et al. (21) and Larkin et al. (36) demonstrated that video-based perceptual training improved decision accuracy, decision time and anticipatory skill. In order to achieve a high level of performance, in addition to volleyball training, it is thought that special exercises or video-based perceptual training should be done to improve the performance of the CAT and reaction time. In future studies, it is recommended to repeat this study increasing the number of samples in different age groups, different categories and elite athletes considering other playing positions (setter, libero, opposite) in volleyball players


Part 13: Data aggregation¶

jsPsych provides a limited set of analysis functions to allow you to calculate things like mean response times for a selected set of trials. In this part, we'll use these functions to add a final trial to the experiment that tells the subject their accuracy and their mean response time for correct responses.

We'll use the html-keyboard-response plugin. Because the text that we want to display changes based on the subject's performance in the experiment, we need to use a function for the stimulus parameter and return the desired text.

Here's what the code looks like, and a description follows below.

To create the variable trials , we use jsPsych.data.get() which returns a jsPsych data collection containing all of the data from the experiment. We can then use .filter to select only the trials where task is 'response' (a benefit of tagging the trials in part 11). trials contains all of the data from the trials where a circle was shown.

To get only the correct trials, we can use .filter() again to select only the trials from the trials data collection where the property correct is true .

To calculate accuracy, we can use the .count() method to determine how many trials were correct and how many trials there were total. We also use Math.round() to avoid extra digits after the decimal.

Finally, to calculate the mean response time on correct trials, we use the .select method on the correct_trials data collection to select only the 'rt' property of those trials. We can then use the .mean() method to find the mean of all the RT values.


Simple and choice reaction time tasks

In cognitive experimental psychology, we distinguish between simple and choice response time tasks. These two terms are being used in many books papers about cognitive psychology. This lesson explains and demonstrates what we mean with simple and choice response time tasks.

Simple Response Time task (SRT)

There is just one stimulus, and when it appears, you need to respond with the one response there is in this type of experiment

Every time you see a light go on, you need to press the space bar of your computer keyboard. Or the athlete starting to run when the starting gun goes off.

Choice Response Time task (CRT)

There are multiple stimuli, and each stimulus requires a different response

You will see one of 10 letters presented. Each time you see the letter, you need to press the corresponding letter key of your keyboard.

People (and animals) can respond a lot faster when there is just one stimulus and one response type (Simple Response Time task). Also, the more stimuli and responses there are, the slower you get (this is known as Hick’s law).

Generally speaking, when there is just one stimulus and one response, many people can respond well below 200 ms, that is less than 1/5th of a second! In choice response time tasks with 2 stimuli and 2 responses (that is the simplest possible choice response time task), responding within 250 ms is probably the fastest you can do, but more typically people have an average response somewhere between 350 and 450 ms. Again, a multitude of factors can influence this, including the exact type of stimulus and response mode.

It is now well established that a person’s response speed is influenced by age and general intelligence (e.g., Deary, Liewald, and Nissan, 2011). It is important to note that many other factors play a role as well, for example the conditions under which you perform the task (are you fit or tired, are you hungry, etc). Also, your speed depends on how accurate you aim to be. If you do not want to make mistakes, you will become slower. This is known as the speed-accuracy trade off (this goes back to the work of Woodworth, 1899 for a good review see Heitz, 2014).

It is important to understand that response times play a crucial role in experimental cognitive psychology. The basic idea is that response times reflect the time it takes to interpret a stimulus, get information from memory, initiate a muscle response, etc. Thus, response times can be used to find out how long basic thought processes take. This idea goes back to the work of the early experiment psychologists in the second half of the 19th century (when the term "cognitive psychology" did not even exist). One of the leading figures in this area of research was the Dutch ophthalmologist Franciscus Donders.



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