Thesis Title

The Relationship between Reaction Time and Intelligence Revisited: The Effect of an Alternative Calculation for Choice Reaction Time

Date of Graduation

Summer 2007


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

D. Wayne Mitchell


Previous research has considered the decision time (DT) component within choice reaction time (CRT) to indicate speed of processing. The primary purpose of the current study was to assess the value of an alternative calculation for CRT, termed the Walters calculation for CRT. The Walters calculation for CRT was viewed to segregate the processes within CRT providing a more pure measure of DT. Primary hypotheses included a replication regarding the significance of possessing high verbal ability. Further, an oddball task was employed attempting to manipulate and assess the two processes within DT. Overall, results indicated consistently lower correlations between reaction time (RT) and intelligence compared to previous research, and failed to replicate the significance of possessing high verbal ability. These results supported the inference that traditional calculations for CRT may have inflated the relationship between CRT and intelligence. In addition, the oddball task produced a significant decrease in CRT. This was considered to result from a decrease in the stimulus discrimination component of DT. Finally, several important implications were uncovered and discussed regarding both conditions of Posner's letter-matching task. Overall, results suggested the Walters calculation for CRT may isolate and assess DT more accurately and effectively compared to traditional calculations for CRT used in previous research; however, replication is necessary to assess the true value of this calculation.


intelligence, reaction time, Posner's letter-matching task, Donders' subtraction technique, oddball task

Subject Categories



© Ryan W. Walters