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Secular Slowing of Auditory Simple Reaction Time in Sweden (1959-1985)
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2016 (English)In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5161, E-ISSN 1662-5161, Vol. 10, 407Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There are indications that simple reaction time might have slowed in Western populations, based on both cohort- and multi-study comparisons. A possible limitation of the latter method in particular is measurement error stemming from methods variance, which results from the fact that instruments and experimental conditions change over time and between studies. We therefore set out to measure the simple auditory reaction time (SRT) of 7,081 individuals (2,997 males and 4,084 females) born in Sweden 1959-1985 (subjects were aged between 27 and 54 years at time of measurement). Depending on age cut-offs and adjustment for aging related slowing of SRT, the data indicate that SRT has increased by between 3 and 16 ms in the 27 birth years covered in the present sample. This slowing is unlikely to be explained by attrition, which was evaluated by comparing the general intelligence x birth-year interactions and standard deviations for both male participants and dropouts, utilizing military conscript cognitive ability data. The present result is consistent with previous studies employing alternative methods, and may indicate the operation of several synergistic factors, such as recent micro-evolutionary trends favoring lower g in Sweden and the effects of industrially produced neurotoxic substances on peripheral nerve conduction velocity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media , 2016. Vol. 10, 407
Keyword [en]
reaction time, intelligence, secular trend, auditory reaction time, evolution, human evolution
National Category
Psychology Neurosciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-125542DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2010.00407ISI: 000381596100001OAI: diva2:971877
Available from: 2016-09-19 Created: 2016-09-13 Last updated: 2016-09-19Bibliographically approved

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Madison, Guy
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