The purpose of this study was to examine the effect that feedback had on reaction time and to distinguish any trends of results. In what way does the addition of feedback have on the reaction time of a performer? The study tested how reaction time was affected by first of all, no feedback and secondly, knowledge of results (KR). The Simple reaction timer was used for the investigation. The time of error that occurred in the exercise was recorded and studied. Ten sports science students participated in the study.
Each of the ten subjects partook in the trial ten times for each test at each condition. The first test was using a varied foreperiod with no feedback given to the subject and the second test had also varied foreperiod, but the margin of error was given to the subject after they performed the task. It was discovered that when no feedback was given the reaction time increased and when knowledge of results was introduced the mean reaction time decreased therefore concluding that knowledge of results gives an improvement in reaction time. Introduction
During the study reaction time was evaluated. Reaction time indicates the speed and effectiveness of decision-making, but the pure sense of reaction time is the time taken to perceive the presentation of a stimulus that is spontaneous and unanticipated to the time of the performers motor response. “Reaction time (RT) is a measure of the time from the arrival of a suddenly presented and unanticipated signal to the beginning of the response to it. ” (R. A. Schmidt, 1941) Reaction time can be seen in two mainly studied different conditions but they are not the only types of reaction time.
The first is simple reaction time (SRT) where the time is measured for the response to the presentation of a single stimulus for example in tennis one ball is approaching the performer and they only have one stimulus to filter to create one response. Choice reaction time (CRT) however is the time taken to respond to a number of stimuli each of which has one single specific response. Amongst these two main types of reaction time there are also others such as Discrimination reaction time (DRT) that has the involvement of multiple choices but only one specific signal must be recognised and acted upon.
There is also Fractionated reaction time (FRT) in which the motor time and pre-motor time are defined and separated. In the study however, only simple choice reaction time was evaluated, as there was one stimulus and one response. “Longer reaction times result from a greater number of stimulus response alternatives” (Hick’s Law, 1952). There are many factors that can affect reaction time. These factors can be task or performer orientated. Task characteristics that affect reaction time can be seen in the number of response choices that are presented to the performer.
The greater the number of responses, the more difficult and time consuming the decision making and motor action of the task actually is. The predictability of the response affects reaction time because if the stimulus is known prior to the recognition of the stimulus, less time can be spent on concentrating on filtering the relevant information from the display and the performer can anticipate the stimulus and the response, which will in effect decrease the reaction time. Another task characteristic that affects reaction time is the regulation of the fore period.
If the fore period is irregular then the stimulus will be unanticipated so information processing will take longer as there are more stimuli in the display that need coding and processing whereas if the fore period is constant, the stimulus can be anticipated and identified, which creates a decrease in reaction time. The compatibility between the stimulus and the response can also affect reaction time. When the stimulus and the response are compatible the reaction time will decrease whereas if the stimulus and the response are incompatible, the reaction time will be slower.
Performer characteristics that affect the reaction time of an individual include the alertness of the performer. If the performer is unaware of the stimulus and isn’t concentrating on the stimulus then the reaction time of that performer is likely to be slower than that of the reaction time when the performer is fully alert, concentrating on the task and is prepared for the stimulus. There may also be external factors that affect the performers reaction time such as the intake of drugs or alcohol. It is known that the consumption of alcohol decreases awareness, stability, coordination and movement time.