Human and Animal Reaction Time

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Douglas Mitchell
Biology 111
Laboratory Report
18 FEB 2013
The Scientific Method
In life, both human and animal, reaction time can mean the difference between life and death. Reaction time is defined as “the time it takes to react to a stimuli (Norman, 2011).” In humans, hand dominance (left-handed vs. right-handed) can further impact this reaction time. In this case a simple study of reaction time and hand dominance is being used to illustrate the practical application of the scientific method in the laboratory.

Human reaction times vary person to person and often increase with age. This change in reaction time can have little impact on a person’s daily life, such as when answering a ringing telephone. But this change can also have a dramatic impact when driving, working in dangerous environments, and negotiating busy streets and sidewalks.

Literature Search
“Reaction time has been used as a psychological test since the mid-19th century (Deary, 1).” Several studies have been conducted dealing with reaction time and the factors that can affect it. In their study titled “Validation of reaction time as a measure of cognitive function and quality of life in healthy subjects and patients”, Jakobsen, Sorensen, et al studied and reported findings regarding diminished reaction times and the effect that poor health had on those times. Findings were conclusive that the healthier the individual, the better their responses.

Individual’s reaction time with their dominant hand is faster than those with their non-dominant hand. Conversely, there may be no statistically valid difference in the reaction time from one hand to the other.

To test the variance in reaction time from dominant hand to non-dominant hand we set up an experiment using a simple reaction time test found in the free marketplace on an Android telephone. This application required the user to touch one of four colored stars that...
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