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dchin's picture

Relationship between Reaction Time and Distance

For our lab, we hypothesizes that the closer the point of contact is to your brain, the faster the reaction time is.  We think that by having the point of contact closer to the brain, the exchange between the brain and the point of contact is shorter.  The brain then relays the message to press the button to your hand much faster.  
Methods:  We decided to pick the arm and the foot as points of contact because the arm is closer to the brain and to the hand pressing the button and the foot is the furthest point from the brain. 
We decided to test the arm first. We conducted three trials.
Trial 1
t1 = .179s
t2 = .252s
t3 = .073s
 
Trial 2
t1 = .16s
t2 = .355s
t3 = .195s
 
Trial 3
t1 = .106s
t2 = .174s
t3 = .068s
The average time from muscle activity to button press was .112s.
Then we tested the foot. We, again, conducted three trials.
Trial 1
t1 = .103s
t2 = .245s
t3 = .142s
 
Trial 2
t1 = .142s
t2 = .406s
t3 = .264s
 
Trial 3
t1 = .183s
t2 = .257s
t3 = .074s
 
The average time for t3 was:  .16
Our hypothesis was proven incorrect. Our conclusion is that there is not a correlation between reaction time and distance. We expected that the reaction time for the arm would be faster that the reaction time for the foot. However, it is possible that this is due to human error. Also, we wonder if perhaps the position of our body would affect out reaction times. For example, maybe having your arm or foot in different positions would result in different reaction times. Another factor that may have affected our results is that Debbi was expecting the stimulus, so she might have pressed the button prematurely, which also would have affected the results.
 
-Debbi Chin and Herman Marcia
 

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