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You've Got Some Nerves!

Author: Melissa Bautista

Reaction time is the time it takes to process information, more specifically the time interval between a stimulus and reaction. In nature having a short reaction time will increase the animal's chances of survival. A person's reaction time can make he/she more inclined to certain activities such as sports or improve his or her ability to react to indications of danger, such as a fire alarm. In this experiment reaction times will be examined across a group (age, gender, etc) using a web-based reaction test.

Problem:

What factors influence an individual's reaction time?

Materials:

Procedure:

  1. Find a computer with a fast, secure internet connection. The computer should stay in one place to eliminate the effects of changing enviornments.
  2. Determine what factor(s) you would like to examine.
  3. Recruit your subjects. Find as many individuals as you can. Peers, teachers, parents.
  4. Male vs. Female – This should be done with males and females around the same age. Ex. 7th graders only.
  5. Age – Set an age range for a group. Ex. 6-8th graders, teenagers 15-18, Adults 18-25, Adults 26-35, Adults 36-45, etc.
  6. Athletes – Recruit various sports: basketball, volleyball, baseball teams, etc. Define your «non-athletes» - individuals who do not engage in sports or low physical activity levels.<
  7. The higher number of data points will increase the validity of your conclusions.
  8. Create a written set of instructions for the subject. This will ensure that all subjects are given the same amount of information.
  9. Take the subject's temperature. Always use the same thermometer. Can be provided by the school nurse.
  10. Have the subject take the reaction test.
  11. Record the subject's times.
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