, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 427-445

RTSYS: A DOS application for the analysis of reaction time data


RTSYS is a menu-driven DOS application for the manipulation, analysis, and graphical display of reaction time data. It can be used either in a single-task environment under DOS, with access to a set operating system commands, or as an application under Windows. All functions have context-sensitive help. RTSYS fits the ex-Gaussian distribution to reaction time data without the difficulties usually associated with numerical parameter estimation. Distribution fitting and flexible censoring and rescaling options allow RTSYS to address the problems of reaction time distribution skew and outlying responses with reasonable sample sizes. RTSYS can automatically process multiple input files from experiments with arbitrary designs and produce formatted output of statistics for further processing by graphical and inferential statistical packages. The present article reviews and explains techniques used by RTSYS and provides an overview of the operation of the program.

The development of RTSYS began during the author’s doctoral research, which was supported by a Canadian Commonwealth Fellowship. Thanks to Doug Mewhort and Richard Heath for comments on the first draft of this manuscript, to Trish Van Zandt, Steve Link, and an anonymous reviewer for their comments, and to the numerous people who have tested versions of RTSYS. Thanks also to Sarah Ogilvie for proofreading the manuscript and providing a quiet place in Melbourne to finish this project.