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
ARTHUR L. BENTON, RICHARD C. JENTSCH, H. J. WAHLER. Simple and Choice Reaction Times in Schizophrenia. AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1959;81(3):373–376. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1959.02340150105013