Age and sex differences in reaction time in adulthood: Results from the United Kingdom Health and Lifestyle Survey

Geoff Der, I J Deary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Reaction times (RTs) slow and become more variable with age. Research samples are typically small, biased, and of restricted age range. Consequently, little is known about the precise pattern of change, whereas evidence for sex differences is equivocal. The authors reanalyzed data for 7,130 adult participants in the United Kingdom Health and Lifestyle Survey, originally reported by F. A. Huppert (1987). The authors modeled the age differences in simple and 4-choice reaction time means and variabilities and tested for sex differences. Simple RT shows little slowing until around 50, whereas choice RT slows throughout the adult age range. The aging of choice RT variability is a function of its mean and the error rate. There are significant sex differences, most notably for choice RT variability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-73
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology and Aging
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006

Keywords

  • reaction time
  • cognitive aging
  • sex differences
  • adulthood
  • Health and Lifestyle Survey (HALS)
  • INTRAINDIVIDUAL VARIABILITY
  • COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE
  • PROCESSING-SPEED
  • TRANSFORMATIONS
  • ASSOCIATION
  • SPAN

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