Modification of response time variability in a decision-making task

Gijsbert Stoet, Hannes Ruge, Lawrence H. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Previous single-unit recordings in monkeys showed that essential information regarding a decision is available earlier to posterior parietal cortex than expected based on simultaneously measured behavioral response times (RTs).We propose that this observation re£ects a tendency of the brain to reduce RTvariability in repetitive response sequences. To test this, we studied the effects of experimentally introduced variability in trial duration on RTs in humans.We found that humans adapt timing based on the timing of surrounding trials, essentially reducing RTvariability in trial sequences. This implies that RTs do not always re£ect the minimal time it takes to make a decision. Implications for the interpretation of behavioral data are discussed. NeuroReport 19:1321-1324

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1321-1324
Number of pages4
Issue number13
StatePublished - Aug 27 2008


  • Human
  • Parietal lobe
  • Primates
  • Reaction time
  • Rhesusmonkey


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