How choice of mouse may affect response timing in psychological studies

Abstract

Mice from the early 1990s seemed to offer a cheap and viable alternative to more expensive response boxes, with fairly consistent results being found between studies. However, has anything changed in the intervening decade? Are newer mice technologies necessarily better? Is USB a better mouse interface than the old-fashioned serial interface? With such questions in mind, we outline a method for bench-testing the timing characteristics of mice outside of a PC, in order to predict their contribution to response timing. A sample set of mice was testedunder a visual stimulus—response paradigm, using E-Prime to compare predicted performance with measured response registration. A representative range of mice technologies was tested alongside a standard keyboard and an E-Prime deluxe response box. The implications for using any response device other than a recognized response box are discussed.

The Experimental Timing Standards Laboratory project was funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Grant GR/N38350/01.