Does Reaction Time Differ With Gender in Year 9 Students? By Kris Heuston, Josh McFarland and Jay Small Aim / Hypothesis The aim of our testing is to determine whether or not there is any difference in reaction time between male and female Year 9 students. Our hypothesis is that reaction time is not gender related. Our Test The ruler is dropped, and where the person catches it determines their reaction time. Our method of testing is not a survey, but a physical test to determine reaction time. The test we performed used a ruler to record reaction ‘time’ so the results are in cm. Therefore, the higher the centimetres, the slower the reaction time. We used the ‘Ruler Drop Test’ to test reaction time. This involves suspending a ruler over the person’s hand, and releasing it unexpectedly. The person must clamp their fingers on the ruler to determine their reaction time. The diagram on the left displays how we performed our test. Method Our test was quite simple to do. This is how we did it: 1. Select 20 boys and 20 girls, all in year nine. 2. Set up an Excel Spreadsheet to record the data. 3. Test the reaction time of each student using the ‘Ruler Drop Test’. To do this, use a 30 cm ruler. Suspend the ruler over one of the student’s hand, keeping it very still. (See photo.) 4. Drop the ruler, unexpectedly, so that the person being tested must clamp their fingers on the ruler, but without moving their hand. 5. Where their fingers clamp the ruler is their reaction time, or distance. (The further the ruler falls, the slower the reaction time.) 6. Once all students have been tested three times, save the data. 7. From there you can analyse and graph the data, and prove or disprove the hypothesis. Results The statistics for our tests are as follows: Simplified Frequency distribution table of our tests: Score Male Female (cm) Score Male Female (cm) 7 19 111 1 20 111 11 1 8 9 1 21 10 22 11 23 12 111 24 13 1 25 14 1 11 26 15 11 1111 27 16 11 1 111 11 1 1 28 17 1 1 29 18 11 1 30 1 Some statistics: Boys Girls Total mean reaction time 17.15cm 18.75cm Mode reaction time 12,19 and 20cm 15 cm Median reaction time 18cm 19.5cm Range of average reaction times 20cm 21cm Fastest reaction time 7cm 9cm Slowest reaction time 27cm+ 30cm+ Box and Whisker Plot of Results Boys’ reaction times 2nd quartile 6 7 8 median 3rd quartile 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 CM 2nd quartile median 26 27 28 29 30 31 3rd quartile Girls’ reaction times This plot shows that the boys’ median reaction time was faster than the girls’, and that the majority of the scores were faster for the boys’ than the girls’. Review of our Results We decided to test the reaction time of male and female Year 9 students because we found it an interesting topic and thought it wouldn’t be too complicated to test. Our method of testing was a valid method, because we controlled all the variables, and kept the test the same for every student we tested. However, the way we measured the reaction ‘time’ (using cm) was a little bit inaccurate because it wasn’t a unit of time, rather a unit of distance. To fix this problem, instead of a ruler, we could have used an electronic timing system that would involve the person hitting a button when they heard a beep, or saw a light, signalling the start of the timer. Conclusion We found from our results that there was a difference in reaction time between male and female Year 9 students. We found that the average score of male students was a faster reaction time than girls. To determine more accurately the difference between male and female Year 9 students’ reaction times, we could have tested many more students. This would have given us more reliable data. Looking at the frequency distribution table, the girls’ mode was lower than the boys’. (15cm compared to 12, 19, and 20cm.) However, on the Box and Whisker plot, the majority of the girls’ scores were slower than the boys’ scores, as was the median. Overall, we determined that male Year 9 students have a slightly faster reaction time than female students.