ALSPAC – Age 13 – Reaction Time (Simple Choice Digit Vigilance) ShareThis

The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 13 sweep (TeenFocus 2) using a measure of Reaction Time (Simple Choice Digit Vigilance).

Details on this measure and the data collected from the CMs are outlined in the table below.

Domain:Reaction time
Simple reaction time
Choice reaction time
Mental Comparison Speed
CHC:Gt (Decision speed/reaction time)
Administration method:Trained interviewer; clinical setting; CAPI
Procedure:Reaction time was measured using three different tasks:
i. Simple reaction time: Using the CAPI, the child was presented with the word "YES" in the middle of the screen, at irregular intervals. They were instructed to press the left arrow key as soon as they saw the word "YES" appear.
ii. Choice Reaction time: Same as above but with the addition of the word "NO". Participant is instructed to press the left arrow key when "YES" appears, and the right arrow key when "NO" appears.
iii. Digit Vigilance: A single number is presented on the right hand side of the screen, and a series of changing numbers appear in the centre. When the number in the centre matches the number on the right, the participant must press the left arrow key as quickly as possible.
Link to questionnaire: (opens in new tab)
Scoring:Speed (median) and errors are recorded
Item-level variable(s):None
Total score/derived variable(s):fg5600 - fg5681
Descriptives:Simple reaction time (median)Choice reaction time (median)
N = 5,477N = 5,454
Range = 204 - 1663Range = 259 - 907
Mean = 285.26Mean = 440.30
SD = 51.49SD = 63.02
(click image to enlarge)
(click image to enlarge)
Age of participants:Mean (months) = 166.02, SD = 2.49, Range = 150 - 182
Other sweep and/or cohort:None
Source:Standard reaction time tasks designed for study
Technical resources:None
Reference examples:Booth, J. N., Tomporowski, P. D., Boyle, J. M., Ness, A. R., Joinson, C., Leary, S. D., & Reilly, J. J. (2013). Associations between executive attention and objectively measured physical activity in adolescence: findings from ALSPAC, a UK cohort. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 6(3), 212-219.

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This page is part of CLOSER’s ‘A guide to the cognitive measures in five British birth cohort studies’.