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Comparison of the delay in response of normals and retardates to a choice reaction time task-a pilot study Gatley, Lyle Daryle

Abstract

5 normal subjects randomly selected from the entire grade 8 male population at Vancouver Technical Secondary School, and 5 retarded subjects from the special class at the same school were exposed to a series of 5 reaction time experiments involving a button press response to a series of stimulus lights, and varying in complexity from simple reaction time to an 8 choice situation. The object was to test the effect of the decision mechanism involvement on reaction time. It was hypothesized that the retardates would be significantly slower than the normals on the reaction time tasks, and that a linear equation would describe the best fitting line of the normals when the speed of response was plotted against the informational load of the stimulus, while a non-linear equation would best describe the retardates' scores. The result indicated that there was no significant difference between the mean values of the reaction time scores of the retarded and the normal groups, but a probability level of .075 was obtained. There was no statistically significant evidence to indicate which equation was the best fit to the retarded and normal scores; however, visual inspection indicated that the observed trends were in agreement with the prediction. It was concluded that although the evidence presented was not statistically significant, enough evidence has been presented to suggest that retardates do not react to a level of information beyond 2 bits in a linear fashion that typifies the normals, and that further research is required to ascertain the causal factor in the retardates' inability to react at a normal level on a reaction time task.

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