Razan Naqeeb

Human Reaction Time Abstract

Can human reaction time be altered by viewing various stimuli? The purpose of this study is to determine how peopleÕs reactions to different visual stimuli can affect their reaction time. The initial hypothesis of this study regarded how visual things that affect positive human reaction will cause the participant to have faster reaction times, while visual things that trigger negative human reactions will cause the participant have slower reaction times. The stimuli characterized as comedic, romantic and sexually stimulating movies were thought to produce faster reaction times in participants, than the horror-thriller and sci-fi stimuli.  MenÕs reaction times were also assumed to be faster than the womenÕs. The first step of the experiment was to measure the initial response times to set a ground point which can be later compared to the other reaction times. Next, the participant watched a minute long video clip from the movie Saw, a movie from the horror/thriller genre. After the participant observed the stimulus, he or she took the reaction test, where the reaction time was measured again. The process was repeated for a one-minute clip from the movie the comedy Night at the Roxbury, the Sci-Fi movie Stargate, the romantic movie The Notebook, and a sex scene from the movie Troy. The purpose of using stimuli from different movie genres was to stimulate specific human reactions in the participants, and based on those reactions, the participants were assumed to react a certain way. Five female and five male participants were used, and to make valid conclusions concerning the hypothesis, the results from the womenÕs reaction times were tested against the results from the menÕs reaction times. The information was then graphed, disproving the initial hypothesis that menÕs reaction times were faster than womenÕs. Unfortunately, the differences were insignificant.   Perhaps the differences would be larger if there was more data collected, thus, the different genres were not give the expected results. The horror-thriller had faster reaction times than the romance, and the sexually stimulating scene had the fastest reaction time.  The romance and the sci-fi had slower reaction times than were hypothesized. Unfortunately this experiment was slightly flawed, as when the reaction times were measured, the participants were not told which light on the reaction timer they were looking for, meaning that the signal was another experimental variable even though it should have remained constant. In conclusion, the horror-thriller and the sexually stimulating scene would have faster times than the romance and sci-fi, and women had slightly faster reaction times than men.