Does reaction time differ with gender in Yr 9 students?

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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.
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