Frequency of the ‘Alpha’ Rhythm, Reaction Time and Age

Abstract

THE preliminary investigation described in this communication was suggested by the observations that (a) older people respond to a stimulus more slowly (simple reaction time is longer than in young people)1–4, and (b) the dominant rhythm of the electroencephalogram, the ‘alpha’ rhythm, is slower in older people than in young5–7. These findings raised the question of whether ‘alpha’ frequency might be a factor responsible for differences in reaction time. The present experiment was designed to discover if simple reaction time is related to ‘alpha’ frequency of the electroencephalogram recorded during the time which elapses between a stimulus and a response.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Miles, W. R., Amer. J. Psychol., 43, 377 (1931).

  2. 2

    Bellis, C. J., Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol., N.Y., 30, 801 (1933).

  3. 3

    Obrist, W. D., J. Psychol., 35, 259 (1953).

  4. 4

    Birren, J. E., The Process of Aging in the Nervous System, edit. by Birren, J. E., et al. (Thomas, Springfield, Illinois, 1959).

  5. 5

    Mundy-Castle, A. C., Hurst, L. A., Beerstecher, D. M., and Prinsloo, T., EEG Clin. Neurophysiol., 6, 245 (1954).

  6. 6

    Obrist, W. D., EEG Clin. Neurophysiol., 6, 235 (1954).

  7. 7

    Harvald, B., Acta Psychiat. Neurol. Scand., 33, 193 (1958).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

SURWILLO, W. Frequency of the ‘Alpha’ Rhythm, Reaction Time and Age. Nature 191, 823–824 (1961). https://doi.org/10.1038/191823a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.