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# Science Project : Distractions and Reaction Time

How I showed how distractions affect reaction time
by

## Rachel Yoon

on 28 March 2012

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#### Transcript of Science Project : Distractions and Reaction Time

Question: The data Variables Reaction time
and distractions Other 'professional' sources agree with me too. (cc) photo by Metro Centric on Flickr (cc) photo by Franco Folini on Flickr (cc) photo by jimmyharris on Flickr (cc) photo by Metro Centric on Flickr How does disctraction affect reaction times? To show how distractions affect reaction time A question to ask:
How is this relevant to real life? -Number of trials
-ruler drop starting point
-same ruler
-same drop conditions
-same person dropping Independent variable: When inputting data, first I put the exact
centimeter the person caught the ruler at.
Then I averaged the three trials for each of
the two requirements, and wrote it down.

Then I averaged the averages of all the 20
test subjects' centimeters for each category
to get a final average. I used the final average
for my data analysis.

Also, all my averages were rounded to the
nearest 1 to avoid complicated numbers. note The final average showed that people tended
to catch the ruler later when distracted. The normal averages varied, with some data
showing that some people even caught the ruler
faster with a distraction, but as an overall, the
people who were distracted had a slower reaction time. interpretations Etc... real-life applications Things I could have done In conclusion... It's not just me Thanks to... If I ever do this again... Goal: -Whether the ruler is dropped when the person knows or not Dependent variable: -the centimeter the ruler was caught at Constant variables: Hypothesis:
I think that distraction
slows down reaction time Procedures
1. Gather materials
2. Grab a test subject
3. Explain that you will test for reaction time.
4. Place the ruler at 0cm right above the test subject’s hands
5. Count to three and then drop it
6. Record the centimeter the person catches the meter stick at.
7. Repeat steps 4~6 two more times (three trials for no distraction)
8. Tell the test subject to count backwards from 100 by threes.
9. Drop the ruler whenever you want, without telling the test subject
10. Record the centimeter the person catches the meter stick at
11. Repeat steps 9~10 two more times (three trials for distraction)
11. Take a picture with the person with the ruler
12. Do steps 2~11 for 19 more test subjects (20 test subjects)
13. Compare data

Materials
-Meter stick
-20 test subjects
-pen
-chart
My hypothesis was correct. I predicted that if people were distracted, their reaction time would slow, and according to my data, I was correct. Now I can procced with step 14. Gloat.

Just kidding. • William Consiglio,
• Peter Driscoll,
• Matthew Witte,
• William P. Berg ,
• Department of Physical Education, Health and Sport Studies, Miami University, 202G Phillips Hall, Oxford, OH 45056, USA
1. Charles J. Holahan1⇓
2. Ralph E. Culler1
3. Brian L. Wilcox1
Department of Psychology,
University of Texas, Austin,
Texas 78712, U.S.A.
CALIFORNIA STATE SCIENCE FAIR
Raquel J. Sojourner
I would...
-get more test subjects
-get more interesting distractions
-try to integrate to real life more
-more trials
-more accurate numbers I felt that I could have had a more diversity of test subjects, since I mostly used high schools students. Also, my distractions could have been much more interesting than just counting back from 100 by threes. All my test subjects Rehab my camerawoman Google for my sources Mr. Stephen for guidance You, for listening to my presentation! ^^ This experiment can be really useful to real life. Driving is one of the applications. If you are driving and a child runs in front of you, how quickly can you step on the breaks when you are focused on driving, or when you are on the phone and distracted? This experiment shows how dangerous it can be. Why? Our brains are not meant to multitask.
Our brain has two hemispheres, and scientific research has shown that our brain
can't handle more than two complex activities at once. When trying to catch the ruler, you had two goals. The first was to catch the ruler, and the second was to catch it quickly. But when I added a third goal (count back from 100 by 3), then the brain could still do it, but not as efficiently as it would have donw when there were just two goals. When we see the ruler and we
see it dropped,the image of the ruler
being dropped goes to the visual cortex,
which then goes to the motor cortex,
and then ALL the way down to the arm
to tell it to move. That's why it takes
time to catch the ruler. Giraffes? :P
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