Friday, January 13, 2017

Reaction Time Measurement Application

For my next book, I need to take a lot of data on the reaction times of humans. In order to make this investigation easier, I wrote a little program in processing to measure reaction times using three tests:
  • Simple reaction time - This is a measure of how quickly you can respond to a stimulus. The goal is to click the mouse as soon as possible after an image of a light bulb turns green.
  • Choice reaction time - This is a measure of how quickly you can respond to a stimulus where a simple decision needs to be made. In this case, if the light bulb turns yellow, left click your mouse, and if the bulb turns blue, right click your mouse.
  • Aim test - This is a measure of how well you can quickly click on a small, randomly located target. As simple as it sounds, this is difficult to do quickly.
The fun part comes when we start making comparisons. We might compare martial artists to other athletes or avid gamers. We might also compare baseline data to "impaired" data (taken after a few cups of coffee or after a few beers).

If you'd like to help me gather reaction time data for my upcoming book, here are some quick instructions:
  1. Download the program and unzip it. Open the folder and run "reaction_time.exe" (you will need Java 8.0 installed on your machine).
  2. Fill out your information and use the tabs at the top to take all three tests. If you want to take it several times, if you want to take it while impaired, or if you want your friends to take it too, just remember to change the info on the first tab.
  3. Send the data back to me. It will save your data in a csv file called "REACTION_TIME_DATA_LOG.csv" in the same folder as the program. Email it to me at Let me know in your email if you are a martial artist, or a gamer, or if there is anything else you think might make set your reaction times apart from other people.
If you want to compile it yourself, peek under the hood, or re-purpose it for your own project, you can also download the original processing scripts.

Thanks for your help!