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In any task where a stimulus is presented and a response is emitted, the response time (RT) is the time between stimulus onset and response completion. In simple tasks with only one response that is given as quickly as possible no matter what the stimulus, RT is commonly referred to as reaction time. The methods and models researchers have used to study RT will be discussed in this entry.

It takes longer to make a difficult perceptual decision than to make one that is simple. Therefore, if we observe a person making a series of decisions, we can order those decisions by their difficulty by comparing their RTs. The use of RT to learn about mental events has a long history in psychology that dates back ...

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