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Do Boys or Girls Have a Quicker Reaction Time?

Researched by Ashley


The purpose of this experiment was to compare the reaction time of seventh grade boys versus seventh grade girls.

 I became interested in this idea when I was watching my brothers playing and I realized how fast they moved.  Since I have no sisters, I wondered how fast their reaction time was compared to my brothers.

The information gained from this experiment will help people know whether boys or girls are more qualified for certain military or civilian jobs such as fighter pilot or test pilot. 



My hypothesis is that seventh grade boys will have a quicker reaction time than seventh grade girls.

I base my hypothesis on observations of my brothers and other children. I couldn’t find any information in an encyclopedia that compares boys’ and girls’ reaction times.

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The constants in this study were: 

  •  The tool used to drop the meter stick, 
  •  The height that subjects place their hands, 
  •  The number of trials per subject, 
  •  The number of subjects’ per group.

The manipulated variable was the gender, boys vs. girls.

The responding variable was the time it took to catch the falling meter stick.

To measure the responding variables, determine the distance in Centimeters the falling meter stick falls before being caught by subjects.

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 PVC pipe measuring 1.75 m
1 PVC pipe measuring 1 m
13 boys
13 girls
2 chairs
desk measuring .72 m
1 meter stick
PVC pipe "L" connectors
PVC pipe connectors
3 "T" connectors 


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1. Glue the two "L" connectors to the 2-meter PVC and point them in the same direction. 
2. Cut 12, 8cm pieces of pipe
3. Put one 1.75-m PVC pipe to the one end of an "L"(do not glue)
4. Put one 1.75-meter PVC pipe to the end of the other "L"(do not glue)
5. Take one pipe connector and connect it to one of the 8cm tubes.
6. Connect the 8-cm pipes to all sides of the 3 "T" pipes.
7. Glue pipe connectors to all 8-cm pipes but ones coming from the top "T".
8. Glue the two non-stopped pipes to the remaining "T".
9. Do the same with the other side.
10. Pipe holders should look like large I.
11. Let it dry for the desired time on the bottle of glue.
12. Screw on the Automatic Dropper.
13. Screw a meter stick onto the ring hanger and test 3 times or until can easily put stick back on.
14. Get 13 girl and 13-boy permission slips back before starting trials.
15. Next you get 1 girl and 1 boy and have them relax for about 4 minutes.
16. Place the first subject in a chair by a desk that is .75 meters high.
17. Have them open their thumb and first finger 5cm apart using a pre-measured paper for accuracy and  consistency.
18. Remove the paper slip. 
19. Put the meter stick on the device and put it in the key.
20. At a random time pull the string to drop the meter stick.
21. Record the amount of cm it took to catch the meter stick.
22. Repeat steps 14-15, 15 times.
23. Repeat steps 7 -15 with remaining student.
24. Repeat steps 8-16 with remaining students.

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The original purpose of this experiment was to find out whether boys or girls have a quicker reaction time.

The results of the experiment were that girls had a quicker average reaction time than boys did.

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My hypothesis was that the reaction time of boys would be quicker than the reaction time of girls.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be rejected for girls had a quicker reaction time.

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if children have a quicker reaction time than adults. 

If I were to conduct this project again I would test more subjects and build a stronger pipe frame.

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  Reflex is an involuntary action that is caused by a stimulant.


A stimulus is an action or object, which causes you to react.  Some stimuli cause voluntary actions and others cause involuntary actions. 


An involuntary action is demonstrated when you touch a hot stove.  Your action is to pull away, but this action takes no thought.  Your sensory cells take it to the spinal cord and it tells the motor nerves, which causes it to pull the hand back.  The brain gets the message after the action.


Voluntary actions are when you want to do something and you think about it first. If you pet a dog and you want to scratch the dog your brain tells your motor nerves and your mussels do that action.  The motor nerve takes it down the spinal cord to the limb that does the brain’s order. Some handicapped people take more time for their actions to happen.


The brain is made of three parts.  A cerebrum, cerebellum and a brain stem. The cerebellum is the little area under the cerebrum.  It controls location, if you are lying down or sitting it tells your brain.  The cerebrum controls almost everything.  It has different hemispheres. Right and left hemispheres control the opposite parts of the body.  The final part is the brain stem.  It controls your automatic functions like heartbeat, breathing, and digestion.


Reaction time is an involuntary or voluntary action. When finger touches a hot stove your sensory nerves tell your motor nerves what to do.   After they have acted your brain is told what happened.  That is an example of an involuntary action.  A voluntary action is when your brain tells you to do something like type.

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Barth, Danial S. "Reflex Action" The World Book Encyclopedia, 1999.

Hackett, John T. "Reflex" Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia (Deluxe 
Version, 1998.

Kanouse, David. "Reflex" Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe, 1999.

Lammert, John. Human Body Vero Beach, Florida Rourke Publications Inc.  1992.

"The New Book of Popular Science", Danbury Connecticut, Grolier Incorporated, 1996.


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