Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Brian Day

Second Advisor

Shelley Etnier


Reaction time is the amount of time it takes an individual to process information following a stimulus (Haen Whitmer, 2021). An aspect of daily life that heavily relies on reaction times is sports. Sports can be categorized into two different categories: open skill-dominated (OSD) and closed skill-dominated (CSD). OSD sports, such as football, occur in changing environments and athletes must react and make decisions quickly to perform well. CSD sports, such as swimming, occur in unchanging environments and athletes must react to a single stimulus quickly. In this research, participants reacted to visual stimuli and combined (visual + auditory) stimuli to analyze the effect stimuli type had on reaction time. Participants were subjected to two different types of reaction time tasks, either simple or choice, that measured participants' reaction time when decision-making is involved. A three-way ANOVA suggested that reaction times are affected by stimulus type (visual or combined) (p = 0.004) and reaction time test type (p < 0.001), but not sport participation (p = 0.209). However, overall participation in collegiate athletics was correlated with faster reaction times regardless of test or stimuli type (p = 0.007). Reaction time is one mechanism by which psychologists study perception-action, and this adds to current research surrounding perception-action within sports performance.