NSHD – Age 60-64 – Reaction Time Test

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The MRC National Survey of Health of Development (NSHD) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 60-64 sweep using the Reaction Time Test.

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


Domain:Reaction time
Measures:Simple reaction time (task 1)
Choice reaction time (task 2)
CHC:Gt (reaction and decision speed)
Administration method:Research nurse; face to face; CAPI
Procedure:Task 1: Using the CAPI, participants were instructed to press a key as quickly as possible every time the numbers '0' or '8' appeared on screen. Participants were instructed to use 1 finger only. There were delays of 1 - 3 seconds between each letter, to avoid anticipation. The test began with 8 practice trials. For the full test, a total of 20 trials were completed.
Task 2: Next, the participants were instructed that the numbers '1', '2', '3', and '4' would appear on screen, and they were to press the corresponding keys as quickly as possible; i.e. if a '1' appeared, they were to press '1'. They were instructed to use both hands. Again, there were 8 practice trials, and the full test consisted of 40 trials.
Link to questionnaire:https://skylark.ucl.ac.uk/NSHD/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=questionnaires:2008_nurse.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:Mean reaction time of correct trials
Item-level variable(s):K0ER09 - K4SD09
Total score/derived variable(s):RTMN09, RTSD09
Descriptives:Mean reaction time
N = 2,167
Range = 41 - 849
Mean = 286.11
SD = 68.48
(click image to enlarge)
Age of participants (months):Mean = 760.24, SD = 13.36, Range = 724 - 780
Other sweep and/or cohort:None
Source:Generic reaction time test. Similar reaction time tests have been widely used in psychology for well over a century, e.g. Cattell (1890).
Technical resources:Masi, S., Georgiopoulos, G., Khan, T., Johnson, W., Wong, A., Charakida, M., ... & Deanfield, J. (2018). Patterns of adiposity, vascular phenotypes and cognitive function in the 1946 British Birth Cohort. BMC Medicine, 16(1), 75.
Reference examples:Masi, S., Georgiopoulos, G., Khan, T., Johnson, W., Wong, A., Charakida, M., ... & Deanfield, J. (2018). Patterns of adiposity, vascular phenotypes and cognitive function in the 1946 British Birth Cohort. BMC Medicine, 16(1), 75.

For the named items in the table above, links are provided to their corresponding content on CLOSER Discovery. Where a variable range is provided, full variable lists can be accessed through the ‘Variable Groups’ tab on the linked Discovery page.


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