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Comparative analysis of the information processing rate of the decision mechanism of retardates and normals Lindsay, Janis Elaine


Eight male retarded Ss and eight male normal Ss took part in a choice reaction time experiment involving four levels of information load. The experiment required Ss to choose between two, four and six alternatives, depending on the condition being tested, and to respond by pressing the correct response button for each trial. Simple reaction time of both groups was also tested. The results obtained from the choice conditions of the experiment were tested by an analysis of variance test and a t-test was used to test the difference in simple reaction time between the two groups. The results indicated that there was a significant difference between the simple reaction of the two groups and that as information load was increased there was a significant increase in the difference in reaction time between the two groups. Also differences were found between the group variability and intra-individual variability of the two groups. The results were discussed in relation to information theory and other studies which have dealt with the reaction time differences of normals and retardates. It was concluded that retarded Ss have a slower simple reaction time than normal Ss, and that retardates process information in their decision mechanism, at a slower rate than normals. The decision mechanism of retarded Ss was cited a partial source of the delay in reaction time of retarded Ss. It was felt that further investigation is necessary to determine to what degree the decision mechanism is responsible for the slower than normal reaction times of retarded Ss.

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