Sex Differences in Simple Visual Reaction Time: A Historical Meta-Analysis

Abstract

To test the hypothesis that the magnitude of sex differences in simple visual reaction time (RT) has narrowed across time, a meta-analysis was conducted on 72 effect sizes derived from 21 studies (n=15,003) published over a 73-year period. The analysis provided strong evidence for the hypothesized change. In addition, the analysis indicated that the sex difference in RT was on average smaller with non-U.S. samples than with U.S. samples. No relation was found between the magnitude of the sex difference in RT and age or presence vs. absence of a warning signal. Two factors–-participation in fast-action sports and driving–-are proposed as having been responsible for the decrease in the magnitude of the sex differences in simple visual RT across time.

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Correspondence to Irwin W. Silverman.

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Silverman, I.W. Sex Differences in Simple Visual Reaction Time: A Historical Meta-Analysis. Sex Roles 54, 57–68 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-006-8869-6

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Key Words

  • visual reaction time
  • sex differences
  • meta-analysis
  • historical changes