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March 1959

Simple and Choice Reaction Times in Schizophrenia

Author Affiliations

Iowa City

From the Departments of Psychology and Neurology, State University of Iowa (Dr. Benton and Dr. Jentsch) and the Veterans Administration Hospital, Knoxville, Iowa (Dr. Wahler).

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1959;81(3):373-376. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1959.02340150105013

In a recent study of simple and choice reaction times in patients with cerebral disease, it was found that simple reaction time differentiated brain-damaged and control patients quite as well as did choice reaction time.1 Indeed, in a number of comparisons, simple reaction time appeared to be a somewhat more effective discriminator than choice reaction time. These results led to the conclusion that a fundamental behavioral consequence of cerebral disease may be an impairment in the performance of simple, high-speed tasks. At the same time, the findings offered no support for any principle which would positively relate a differential degree of retardation to the complexity of the involved function.

These findings may be compared with the results of Huston and his associates on reflex time, simple reaction time, and choice reaction time in schizophrenic patients and normal subjects, which appeared to be in accord with such a principle.2,3