Fingertip Reaction Time - The Physics Factbook (2023)

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Abstract

The purpose of this experiment is to compare the fingertip reaction times of male and female students to male and female teachers of Midwood High School.

Introduction

Reaction time is the time discrepancy between the moment of change in the environment and the beginning of your response. Fingertip reaction time is tested by dropping a ruler between the outstretched fingers of the subject without warning. The distance fallen can be used to determine the time to react to the event.

You might ask why some people just have a higher reaction time than others. First, you must understand how you, as a person, reacts to a change in the environment. For instance, when the subject saw the experimenter drop the ruler, it took some time for the brain to realize that the ruler was being dropped. (That's why you need a friend, you can't just drop the ruler yourself and catch it and assume that you have such a high reaction time!)

(Video) Reaction Time: The Ruler Drop Test Experiment (muscle memory / science project)

Generally speaking, your nervous system is divided into two parts with a central nervous system (consisting of the brain and the spinal cord) and a peripheral nervous system (composed of all the nerves that deliver messages to the spinal cord). Both parts are at work here. First, the nervous system must recognize a stimulus (the ruler being dropped), then cells in the nervous system called neurons relay the message to the brain, muscles and other nerves. Now the peripheral nerve comes into play: the message travels from the brain to the spinal cord and is finally delivered to your fingers. The motor neurons tell the muscles to catch the ruler.

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Using the formula

s=so+votat2

where s is the distance, vo is the initial velocity, t is the time, and a is the acceleration, your reaction time can be measured given the distance you catch the ruler at and that you release the ruler from rest. Many believe that males have a quicker reaction time overall than females. This experiment is to confirm whether or not this claim is true. The average reaction time of a human is approximately between 0.2s to 0.25s. However, your reaction time is also affected by factors such as age, gender, intelligence, fatigue, and distraction.

Procedure

  • Randomly pick a male or female student to perform this simple experiment.
  • Ask them to extend their hand and hold out their thumb and forefinger.
  • The 0 centimeter mark on the ruler should be level in between the subject's fingers.
  • Ask them to catch the ruler with these two fingers. Do not give any advanced notice when you release it from rest.
  • Record the position of their fingers on the ruler when they catch it.
  • Repeat the first 5 steps for more trials.
  • Repeat the first 6 steps with teachers (male and female) as your test subject.

Analysis

Testing you reaction time is as simple as 123. With a ruler and a friend, you can tell how long a person it takes to react to a change. Having a fast reaction time is vital in sports whether you're in the track, hockey or soccer (especially a goalie) teams, etc.

In our experiment, one person will drop the ruler and when the subject catches it, you can measure the reaction time. First, we convert the centimeters tometers for a standard measurement. Then, using the distance formula given in the introduction

sat2

(Video) FSN Sport Science - Episode 3 - Reaction Time - Jerry Rice

since there is no initial distance nor initial velocity. So the time can be found from

t=√2s/a

Fingertip Reaction Time - The Physics Factbook (2)
mean μ=0.1778s
standard deviation σ=0.0344s
minimum value0.0903s
first quartile Q1=0.1596s
median0.1806s
third quartile Q3=0.2044s
maximum value0.2389s
number of samples62
Data Table for Male Students
Fingertip Reaction Time - The Physics Factbook (3)
mean μ=0.1950s
standard deviation σ=0.0338s
minimum value0.0553s
first quartile Q1=0.1766s
median0.2019s
third quartile Q3=0.2189s
maximum value0.2473s
number of samples71
Data Table for Female Students
Fingertip Reaction Time - The Physics Factbook (4)
mean μ=0.2033s
standard deviation s=0.0236s
minimum value0.1564s
first quartile Q1=0.1848s
median0.1968s
third quartile Q3=0.2279s
maximum value0.2473s
number of samples20
Data Table for Male Teachers
Fingertip Reaction Time - The Physics Factbook (5)
mean μ=0.1878s
standard deviation s=0.0262s
minimum value0.1355s
first quartile Q1=0.1713s
median0.1915s
third quartile Q3=0.2118s
maximum value0.2258s
number of samples20
Data Table for Female Teachers

Conditions for a 2-Sample T-Interval:

  1. 10% of the population: There are 3,695 students and 218 teachers in Midwood High School in the spring of 2006. Of the students, 1,667 of them are male and 2,028 are female. Of the teachers, 102 of them are male and 116 of them are female. Since there are countless schools in the United States, we can assume that we did take less than 10% of the population of students and teachers.
  2. approximate normal distribution: We based our sample on a large population.

Based on a 95% confidence interval test to compare 2 samples, we performed four 2-Sample T-Intervals to find if there was a significant difference in the interval of the true fingertip reaction times. First, we let μo=the average fingertip reaction time. Then, we set our null hypothesis, Ho: μ12, and our alternative hypothesis, HA12. We find our interval from the formula

1–μ2) ± t*√(s12/n1+s22/n2)

where s is the standard deviation and n is the number of samples.

  • Let μ1=the mean reaction time of male teachers
  • Let μ2=the mean reaction time of the female teachers

2- Sample T-Interval

(−9×10−4, 0.03189) with df=37.6198

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Since 0 is in the interval, we don't reject the null hypothesis. Therefore, there's no difference in the reaction time of male and female teachers.

  • Let μ1=the mean reaction time of male students
  • Let μ2=the mean reaction time of the female students

2- Sample T-Interval

(−0.029, −0.0053) with df=127. 976

Since 0 is not in the interval, we reject the null hypothesis. Therefore, there's difference in the reaction time of male and female students. Since it's a negative number, males are between 0.0029 and 0.0053 seconds faster than the female students.

  • Let μ1=the mean reaction time of male students
  • Let μ2=the mean reaction time of the male teachers

2- Sample T-Interval

(−0.0397, −0.0115) with df=45.8719

Since 0 is not in the interval, we reject the null hypothesis. Therefore, there's difference in the reaction time of male students and male teachers. Since it's a negative number, male students are between 0.0397 and 0.0115 seconds faster than the male teachers.

  • Let μ1=the mean reaction time of female students
  • Let μ2=the mean reaction time of the female teachers

2- Sample T-Interval

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(−0.0076, 0.03189) with df=37.6198

Since 0 is in the interval, we don't reject the null hypothesis. Therefore, there's no difference in the reaction time of female students and teachers.

We found that females have the minimum value for reaction time: 0.0553 seconds while the minimum male reaction time value is 0.0903 seconds. However, overall, male students' reaction time was the fastest when we performed a 95% confidence interval. The histogram for male student reaction time is slightly skewed left with no outliers and for female, it's skewed left with one outlier. Surprisingly, we found that there was no difference in the reaction times between male and female teachers when we performed a 95% confidence interval. Both of the histograms are approximately symmetric with no outliers.

Conclusion

According to our statistical analysis of the fingertip reaction time, our experiment showed that male students in Midwood high school have the fastest reaction time. However, Literature Review on a reaction time stated that,

In a surprising finding, Szinnai et al. (2005) found that gradual dehydration (loss of 2.6% of body weight over a 7-day period) caused females to have lengthened choice reaction time, but males to have shortened choice reaction times. Adam et al. (1999) reported that males use a more complex strategy than females. Barral and Debu (2004) found that while men were faster than women at aiming at a target, the women were more accurate.

We also performed an analysis on male students and teachers to find out if reaction time depends on age. We found that there's a significant difference between male students and teachers while there's no considerable difference between female students and teachers.

The average reaction time is 0.1778 s for male students, 0.1950 s for female students, 0.2033 s male teachers, and 0.1878 s for female teachers (refer to the graph for the rest of the information: median, quartile, etc.).

Sources of Error

  • One source of error was in that there was a sampling error since we didn't have a specific age group for the teachers. For the students, the age group was specifically from 15 to 18 years of age. However, the teachers' age group ranged from their mid-20s to their 60s.
  • Since we didn't take a simple random sample (SRS) of the population, we cannot assume that this conclusion represents the whole population. This conclusion can only be represented as the results for the population of interest (Midwood High School).
  • There was also an experimental error since the distance measurement was subjective. We made a estimate by approximating to the middle of the fingers and rounding to the nearest centimeter.
  • We only used a ruler that was 12 inches (30 centimeters) long. However, some of the subjects were unable to catch it within those 30 centimeters so we simply repeated the trial again until they could catch it.

Shu Mei Deng, Sahrish Javed, Julie Tan with Natalie Weng -- 2005

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Students Choice
  1. Physics of the Body
    1. Center of mass of a human
    2. Fingertip reaction time
    3. More acceleration perturbations of daily living
    4. Size of a human: Body proportions
    5. Speed of a human running: Is footwear a factor?
  2. Miscellaneous Topics
    1. How long do the subway doors stay open?
    2. Coefficients of restitution

FAQs

Is 300 ms reaction time good? ›

A typical human reaction time is 200 to 300 milliseconds.

What is the average reaction time for a 14 year old? ›

Average reaction time, by age and dominant hand
Age (years)Right-handedLeft-handed
seconds
130.480.49
140.460.44
150.480.53
13 more rows

How do you calculate reaction time physics? ›

We can use the distance the meter stick fell before you caught it to figure out your reaction time. The following formula is the basis: d = 1/2 gt2. In this formula, “d” equals the distance the object fell, “g” equals gravitational acceleration (9.8 m/s2), and “t” is the time the object was falling.

Is the reaction time of 0.2 good? ›

Simple reaction time (reaction to a certain stimulus) of an average individual is 0.16–0.2. It can be improved by training; however, even the best sprinters cannot go below 0.1 s.

Is 100 ms reaction time possible? ›

A number of studies have shown that total response times faster than 100 ms are indeed possible [3, 5, 4]. Pain and Hibbs [3] for example found that one of the nine athletes had an average reaction time of 87 ms with a standard deviation of 4 ms, after two probably false starts were removed from the data analysis.

Do gamers have faster reflexes? ›

Bavelier and other researchers found that adolescents who played action video games had much faster reaction times, but were no less accurate, and performed as well on tests of impulsivity and sustained attention as nonplayers.

Do kids react faster than adults? ›

According to our results, children have an average reaction time of 0.25673 seconds and adults have an average of 0.24213 seconds. As you can see, these reaction times are only split by 0.0146 seconds.

Do men react faster? ›

The mean fastest reaction time recorded by men was significantly faster than women (p<0.001). At the 99.9% confidence level, neither men nor women can react in 100 ms, but they can react in as little as 109 ms and 121 ms, respectively.

What age is best for reflexes? ›

The next time some twenty-something complains that they feel old, you can reassure them that their feelings are, in fact, not ridiculous.

What is reaction time answer? ›

Reaction time or response time refers to the amount of time that takes places between when we perceive something to when we respond to it. It is the ability to detect, process, and respond to a stimulus.

What are the 3 types of reaction time? ›

There are 3 different types of reaction time experiments, simple, recognition, and reaction time experiments. In simple reaction time experiments, there is only one stimulus and one response.

What is the reaction time in physics? ›

Reaction time may be defined simply as the time between a stimulus and a response.

Which finger has fastest reaction time? ›

Thumb and little finger are the quickest

The researchers set subjects a simple task to measure the speed of decision: they showed them an image on a monitor that represented all ten fingers.

Is 0.13 a good reaction time? ›

Typical reaction time for simple reactions is very quick. It generally takes 0.13 to 0.18 seconds to react to a single stimulus.

Can human reactions be faster than 0.5 seconds? ›

The fastest possible conscious human reactions are around 0.15 s, but most are around 0.2 s. Unconscious, or reflex, actions are much faster, around 0.08 s because the signal doesn't have to go via the brain.

Can humans react faster than 0.1 seconds? ›

There are physical limits to how fast an athlete can react to the starters' gun. While the official IAAF rules set a limit of 0.100 seconds, it's likely that anyone reacting in less than 0.120 seconds has anticipated the gun.

Is 200ms reaction time fast? ›

The hard limit for human reaction speed is around 200ms in an empty situation. If you're looking for a specific thing, you are very well-conditioned, but it could happen at any time, so you're going to react to it around 200ms or slower on the average. Now, 200ms is superhumanly fast.

Is 0.8 a good reaction time? ›

The average motorist is much slower to react: around 0.5 of a second is still good, 0.8 of a second is satisfactory and even one second is not too bad. Anything longer than a second is beginning to be dangerously slow.

Does gaming increase IQ? ›

American kids between 9 and 10 years of age who spent more time playing video games experienced a significant increase in their intelligence scores when retested two years later -- amounting to an extra 2.5 IQ points above the average.

Which sport has the best reflexes? ›

These include squash, tennis, table tennis, and badminton. Reaction time in these sports is important because the ball (or the shuttle) moves at incredible speeds, and the player has a few milliseconds to respond. Only the players with excellent reaction time can succeed at such sports.

Do your reactions slow with age? ›

INTRODUCTION. Adult human reaction times in response to simple tasks slow with age at a rate of 2–6 ms per decade (1–3). More complex tasks are associated with greater reaction time differences between healthy young and old participants (3).

Do girls react faster than boys? ›

The mean fastest reaction time recorded by men was significantly faster than women (p<0.001). At the 99.9% confidence level, neither men nor women can react in 100 ms, but they can react in as little as 109 ms and 121 ms, respectively.

Do girls have faster reaction times? ›

Gender. A review of the literature on the influence of gender on RT shows that in almost every age group, males have faster RTs as compared to females, and female disadvantage is not reduced by practice.

What age are kids most enjoyable? ›

According to a recent survey of nearly 2,000 families, 40 percent of parents found their children to be the most lovable/fun at the age of 5. Meanwhile, they found kids to be the most difficult to spend time with between the ages of 10 and 12.

Do men fall quickly in love? ›

A study of 172 college students found men reported falling in love earlier than women and expressing that sentiment first. According to Broadly, the reason men are quicker to say 'I love you' may be because women are biologically predisposed to be pickier when selecting a partner.

Do fit people have faster reaction time? ›

The results concluded that acute-intense exercise decreased reaction time, meaning there was significant improvement in reaction time abilities.

Can you train reaction time? ›

Unlike reflexes, which aren't processed by the brain, reaction time can be strengthened and improved through lifestyle changes. Cognitive exercises, meditation and mindfulness, and nutritional supplements are all factors that can boost reaction time in a safe and healthy way.

Why are my reflexes so slow? ›

Reflexes do slow with age. Physical changes in nerve fibers slow the speed of conduction. And the parts of the brain involved in motor control lose cells over time. But the effect of age on reflexes and reaction time varies greatly from person to person.

Does height affect reflex time? ›

Research findings shows that speed reaction time significantly related to standing height and lower limb length. Further it has been shown moderate negative co-rrelation between speed reaction time and two anthropometrical measures i.e., standing height and lower limb length.

How fast is reaction time? ›

On average, reaction time takes between 150 and 300 milliseconds. If that sounds like a long time, think about how much has to happen for you to react.

What is reaction time easy? ›

Simple reaction time (SRT), the minimal time needed to respond to a stimulus, is a basic measure of processing speed.

What's an example of reaction time? ›

Imagine a group of athletes standing at the starting block of a sprint. The gunshot is fired, and the athletes start moving. The sound of the pistol is the stimulus, and the first move of the athletes is the response. The time between these two, no matter how small, is the reaction time.

What can affect your reaction time? ›

Many factors have been shown to affect reaction times, including age, gender, physical fitness, fatigue, distraction, alcohol, personality type, and whether the stimulus is auditory or visual.

What are the 4 rates of reaction? ›

Reactant concentration, the physical state of the reactants, and surface area, temperature, and the presence of a catalyst are the four main factors that affect reaction rate.

What color do humans react to the fastest? ›

A new study, published in the journal Emotion, finds that when humans see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful. And people are unaware of the color's intensifying effect.

Is reaction time a second? ›

The average reaction time for humans is 0.25 seconds to a visual stimulus, 0.17 for an audio stimulus, and 0.15 seconds for a touch stimulus.

What is reaction time in physics 11? ›

2s. Answer. 234k+ views. Hint: Reaction time is that time in which a driver realizes that he should apply brakes and he does it. After application of the brakes anyhow due to the deceleration of the car it stops at the signal.

Which finger is connected to the brain? ›

The thumb represents the brain, the index finger represents the liver/gall bladder. The middle finger represents heart, the ring finger represents hormones and the little finger or pinky represents digestion.

Why is touch the fastest reaction? ›

A tactile stimulus this is the fastest is because we have many sensors on our body which enable us to react faster when we receive a stimulus compared to auditory and visual which both require more processing done by the brain.

Which hand has a better reaction time? ›

Reaction Time of the Dominant and Nondominant Hand. The dominant hand mean reaction times were 33 ms shorter in comparison to the nondominant hand (237 ms vs 270 ms, respectively)....

Is 250 milliseconds good reaction time? ›

The average reaction time to visual stimulus is around 250 milliseconds, and most people seem to be hard capped at around 190-200 ms with training.

Is a 0.4 reaction time good? ›

The average reaction time is between 0.2 and 0.3 seconds. Anything under 0.2 is excellent. Above 0.3 is slow.

Is low reaction time good? ›

“Reaction time may indicate how well our central nervous and other systems in the body are working. People who are consistently slow to respond to new information may go on to experience problems that increase their risk of early death.

Do people react faster to sight touch or sounds? ›

Kosinski, Clemson University:)"Many researchers have confirmed that reaction to sound is faster than reaction to light, with mean auditory reaction times being 140-160 msec and visual reaction times being 180-200 msec (References).

How fast is thought speed? ›

Human thought takes time to form, and so the “right now” that we're experiencing inside our skulls is always a little later than what's going on in the outside world. It takes 500 milliseconds, or half a second, for sensory information from the outside world to be incorporated into conscious experience.

What is the average F1 driver reaction time? ›

When you factor this in, an F1 driver's reaction time at a race start tends to be somewhere between 0.2 and 0.3 seconds. “There's no point in reacting quickly to something if your actual action is poor, and good reactions for a specific task require motor-learning,” explains Jon.

Is a reaction time of 350ms good? ›

In choice response time tasks with 2 stimuli and 2 responses (that is the simplest possible choice response time task), responding within 250 ms is probably the fastest you can do, but more typically people have an average response somewhere between 350 and 450 ms.

Is 250 ms reaction time fast? ›

The average reaction time to visual stimulus is around 250 milliseconds, and most people seem to be hard capped at around 190-200 ms with training.

Is 200ms response time good? ›

Between 100ms and 200 ms is considered good. Between 200ms and 1 second is considered acceptable, but should be improved.

Is 0.4 reaction time slow? ›

The average reaction time is between 0.2 and 0.3 seconds. Anything under 0.2 is excellent. Above 0.3 is slow.

What is the lowest reaction time? ›

The fastest possible conscious human reactions are around 0.15 s, but most are around 0.2 s. Unconscious, or reflex, actions are much faster, around 0.08 s because the signal doesn't have to go via the brain.

Why are my reflexes so fast? ›

Some people are born with faster reflexes. Electrical impulses actually travel more quickly through their nerves. But you can also speed up nerve conduction through practice.

Is 13ms reaction time good? ›

The fastest rate at which humans appear to be able to process incoming visual stimuli is about 13 ms.

How fast is F1 reaction time? ›

The average reaction time of an F1 driver is approximately 0.2 seconds

How can I sharpen my reflexes? ›

Seven top tips to improve your reflexes
  1. Pick a sport, any sport – and practise. What exactly do you want to improve your reflexes for? ...
  2. Chill out. ...
  3. Eat a lot of spinach and eggs. ...
  4. Play more video games (no, really) ...
  5. Use your loose change. ...
  6. Playing ball. ...
  7. Make sure you get enough sleep.
9 Oct 2018

Can you improve your reaction time? ›

Unlike reflexes, which aren't processed by the brain, reaction time can be strengthened and improved through lifestyle changes. Cognitive exercises, meditation and mindfulness, and nutritional supplements are all factors that can boost reaction time in a safe and healthy way.

Is 5ms ping good? ›

Best-effort providers will typically say anything under 15ms is considered normal, whereas services backed by an SLA will usually have a reported latency under 5ms.

Is 1ms response time 144Hz? ›

To get the best gaming monitor performance, response times need to lower in relation to rising refresh rates. That's why 144Hz panels should be as close to 1ms as possible. For gaming monitors, high framerates and low latency come in as must-haves.

Is 1 ms response time good for gaming? ›

Response time refers to how fast a gaming monitor can change the colors of a pixel, so a lower number is better. 1ms is the best response time you can shoot for when it comes to smooth gameplay, though the difference between 1ms displays and 2ms monitors will be negligible.

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