The Effect of Temperature on Simple Visual Reaction Time

 This research was conducted to determine the effect of temperature on reaction time because it is applicable to many industries including automotive manufacture, sport (NASCAR, hockey, baseball, etc.), and military, as well as normal everyday driving.  A group of ten eleventh grade student volunteers was used to contrive the data.  In order to modify the temperature, the experiment was performed inside a small passenger car.  The automobile’s heater and air conditioning system was used to set the temperature inside the vehicle with the assist of a simple thermometer.  The experiment involved the use of force sensors and LabQuest (a handheld data acquisition system).  It was designed to be a simple reaction time test with a visual stimulus.  The movement of a carton box was used to trigger the reaction of the test subjects braking and the timing device on the LabQuest.  Each test subject performed three trials for seven different temperature sets.  It was hypothesized that as temperature decreases from the average room temperature of 72 ˚F, reaction time would increase; while as temperature increases from the average room temperature of 72 ˚F, reaction time would decrease.  After the data was analyzed, the hypothesis was rejected, the ANOVA test (One-Way Analysis of Variance) proved that there was no significant difference in reaction times at different temperatures. Therefore, the researchers concluded that if a driver was to get in a freezing car in the winter morning or a heated-up car in a summer afternoon, his immediate reaction time would remain unchanged.


Research Done By:

Joshua Garcia
South Lake High School

Bach Nguyen
Clintondale High School