Sex Differences in Simple Visual Reaction Time: A Historical Meta-Analysis

Author: Silverman, Irwin

Source: Sex Roles, Volume 54, Numbers 1-2, January 2006 , pp. 57-68(12)

Publisher: Springer

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To test the hypothesis that the magnitude of sex differences in simple visual reaction time (RT) has narrowed across time, a meta-analysis was conducted on 72 effect sizes derived from 21 studies (n=15,003) published over a 73-year period. The analysis provided strong evidence for the hypothesized change. In addition, the analysis indicated that the sex difference in RT was on average smaller with non-U.S. samples than with U.S. samples. No relation was found between the magnitude of the sex difference in RT and age or presence vs. absence of a warning signal. Two factors–-participation in fast-action sports and driving–-are proposed as having been responsible for the decrease in the magnitude of the sex differences in simple visual RT across time.

Keywords: historical changes; meta-analysis; sex differences; visual reaction time

Document Type: Research Article


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Publication date: January 1, 2006

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