The Effect Of Reaction Time On The Brain

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“That step wasn’t there before!” and, “I didn’t trip. I was…. dancing,” are a few excuses that people may use when they make a mistake. It is not uncommon to hear people create these excuses to cover their embarrassment of missing the last step on the stairs, or for tripping over a crack in the sidewalk. Although some of these alibis may seem like reasonable answers, they are almost always incorrect. The proper explanation for events, such as the examples mentioned, is based on reaction time. The study of human reaction time triggered by stimulus has progressed over time; scientists now understand how reaction time works, what it is needed for, and what factors impact reaction time. Reaction time, like most subjects related to the brain, has an interesting history. At first, most scientists believed that mental processes in the human brain were too fast to be measured. However, a Dutch Physiologist named F.C. Donders started to think, about whether reaction time could be measured in 1965. Donder’s thoughts were backed up by research done by a English scientist and inventor Charles Wheatstone. In 1840, Wheatstone conducted an experiment where a patient’s foot was shocked. The test subject had to press a button using the hand that was on the same side as the foot that was shocked. Some patients knew which foot would be shocked and others did not know. There was a one-fifteenth second delay between the two. The was the first record of the mind being measured (Shannon, 2012).
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