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Yashaswini's picture

State of mind vs State of surroundings


We wanted to observe factors that affect our reaction time to outside stimuli. What makes us react almost instantly to certain situations, relatively slowly to others, and almost not at all to others? Does reaction or reaction time depend on external factors such as.. level of noice/disturbance, potential distractions, intensity of stimulus, frequency of stimulus etc? Or are internal factors such as.. mental  conditions, state of mind, drug-levels in our body (caffeine, nicotine etc) equally responsible?


Yashaswini's data:



With music

On phone

Latency 1




Latency 2




Total Latency




 Michelle's data:

Avg Latency 1:


Avg Latency 2:


Total Latency



On comparing Yashaswini's base trial with Michelle's, we notice that while Michelle's total latency was 193 ms, Yashaswini's was only 50ms! :O

This increased when Yashaswini was checking her voicemail to 84ms, which was still significantly lower (less than half!)  than Michelle's base trial!

It also further increased when we played loud music. Total latency increased to more than double of that during the base trial, to 118ms.



We concluded that Yashaswini's response time was FREAKISHLY HIGH, during all the trials, ALL the time, she is probably in the state of mind where her defenses are up, and she is conscious of every tiny thing that could.. threaten/hurt her. This could be because of.. a high level of adrenaline in her blood. Or this could be as a result of a high amount of caffeine-intake. Either way, her responses were far quicker than Michelle's responses, that were closer to the class average that approxiamtely lay between 150-200ms.

However, even though Yashaswini's responses were really FAST compared to others, we did observe variations within her.. "unusual" range. Talking on phone was a distraction and her mind was occupied doing other things, such as.. dialing numbers, paying attention and responding to what the other person has to say etc. This is probably what slowed down reaction time.




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