The role of attention control in mediating the relationship between Hick reaction time slopes and intelligence
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In 1993, psychologists found that the Hick Task, a commonly used task to explore the relationship between speed of information processing (SOIP) and reaction times, may have results due to attentional breadth confounds (Bors et al., 1993). However, there were no studies that attempted to replicate this finding. In our study, we aimed to replicate the results of Bors et al. (1993) and expanded it by including attention measures. We recruited 44 participants from the Georgia Tech and Atlanta communities and asked them to complete cognitive tasks. We retained the attentional breadth confound in our “spread” condition but eliminated it with our “center” condition. We hypothesized that participants would have faster reaction times on the center condition, that reaction times in the center condition would correlate more strongly with attention and intelligence measures, and that attention measures would correlate to intelligence measures. A repeated-measures ANOVA found that there was a significant difference between reaction times on the 1-bit spread and 1-bit center conditions, but no such relationship between the 0-bit and 1-bit spread conditions. Additionally, the only significant correlation was between the two 1-bit reaction times. These findings were not what we expected, but give insight into future directions, including repeating the study with a more diverse sample, and exploring why there is an unexpected relationship between the 1-bit center and spread conditions.