Reaction times can reflect habits rather than computations

Aaron L. Wong, Jeff Goldsmith, Alexander D. Forrence, Adrian M. Haith, John W. Krakauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Reaction times (RTs) are assumed to reflect the underlying computations required for making decisions and preparing actions. Recent work, however, has shown that movements can be initiated earlier than typically expressed without affecting performance; hence, the RT may be modulated by factors other than computation time. Consistent with that view, we demonstrated that RTs are influenced by prior experience: when a previously performed task required a specific RT to support task success, this biased the RTs in future tasks. This effect is similar to the usedependent biases observed for other movement parameters such as speed or direction. Moreover, kinematic analyses revealed that these RT biases could occur without changing the underlying computations used to perform the action. Thus the RT is not solely determined by computational requirements but is an independent parameter that can be habitually set by prior experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere28075
JournaleLife
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 28 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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