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Re: reaction time measures

Thanks much to all who responded about programs capable of measuring reaction times. The wide range of suggestions has been very helpful so I thought I’d post the consensus to date in case others were interested. A few programs were consistently mentioned including:








DMDX (which is free)



Others mentioned were:


psychopy (for visual presentations)



Psychtoolbox (for Matlab)












I’ve posted individual replies below as some included other relevant information.


Thanks again,









Check psychopy (http://www.psychopy.org/) (for visual presentations)

If you do not mind programming, python/pygame is good enough for many experiments.

It is difficult to ensure than you have millisecond precision on each trial because non real-time, pre-emptive operating systems like Windows or Linux can switch to other processes and create latencies ( i.e. delays in stimulus delivery or detection of button press). But this is not often a difficulty in practice. First, you can check for latencies in your program, second the variance of human subjects' decision times is typically order of magnitude larger than the variance in the timing of the computer.


regarding reaction time,

investigate Cogent software (free download from Statistical Parametric Mapping in the UK) which runs on Matlab (available for purchase from the mathworks in USA)



I have used EPrime for such experiments it is fully portable 


E-Prime from Psychology Software Tools, Inc, is your best bet.


I believe E-Prime can do this.






Also check out, the following for collecting data on a handheld





I've used Presentation from www.neurobs.com, but also see the list at http://visionscience.com/documents/strasburger_files/strasburger.html


I recommend Presentation (http://www.neurobs.com). You can try it free and the license prices are not too bad compared to other commercial packages. It provides you <1ms accuracy with button presses. It runs fine on a laptop.



We use Presentation by NeuroBehavioral Systems (www.neurobs.com).  It do visual and/or auditory stimuli and the accuracy on stimulus presentation and RTs is generally under 1 ms (re. the vertical refresh for visual RTs).  Of course, the typical laptop display has its delay for achieving full, but you can measure that for the particular device, if necessary.  Actually, NBS is very concerned about timing issues, and the company is very helpful with problems.  The program runs under Windows (xp, 2000, etc.) and controls stimuli and gets responses through DirectX.  It also has handles for fMRI and EEG experiments.


…you can test a full-feature version for (I think) 45 days at no cost.  The documentation is good, and if you have a little programming experience (Matlab or almost anything else), you should be able to make it do what you want.





The program DMDX by John Forster does what you want and is free. http://www.u.arizona.edu/~kforster/dmdx/dmdx.htm

There are other commercial options (e.g., presentation)


I am doing sign phonetics tests with RT measurements. I have found a freeware via Internet. It is called PXLab, and at least to my purposes it suits fine.


I haven't used it, but I believe that the MATLAB psychophysics toolbox might serve your purpose.  It's at psychtoolbox.org.


From: Hornsby, Benjamin Wade Young
Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2007 9:34 AM
To: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: reaction time measures



Sorry if this is not a relevant topic for the list. I am interested in doing a visual reaction time task where subjects respond when a simple visual stimulus is presented on a computer screen. I’m looking for accuracy within ~5-10 ms and I’d like, if possible, to make this portable and use a laptop computer without having to drag along any external hardware for running the experiment. Does anyone know of existing software that could do this? Any leads would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks Much,


Ben Hornsby