CHOICE REACTION TIME: AN ANALYSIS OF THE MAJOR THEORETICAL POSITIONS.
MICHIGAN UNIV ANN ARBOR DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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The report analyzes and evaluates against experimental findings contemporary theories of choice reaction time CRT. The influence of Donders subtraction method on current theory is assessed, followed by a review of experimental findings concerned with the effects on CRT of 1 number of alternatives, 2 stimulus probability, 3 stimulus value, 4 repetition of stimulus or response, 5 stimulus discriminability, 6 stimulus-response compatibility, 7 practice, and 8 emphasis on speed versus accuracy. A three-state conceptualization of the central mechanisms operative during the latent period--stimulus preprocessing, stimulus categorization, and response selection--is proposed. The theories are dichotomized on the basis of the process-template matching versus feature testing--which is assumed to underlie stimulus categorization. The analysis indicates that current theories have neglected response selection processes and are consequently unable to account for several experimental findings. A final section deals with the relation of CRT theories to perceptual recognition theories. Author