“swift as a deer…quick as a snake.”

actually, i’m a “bobbing bobcat” according to the bbc’s “tranquilize the sheep” reaction time test. (^_^)

dr. james thompson says we should all take and post our reaction times from two online tests: the bbc’s sheep test and a red-light/green-light reaction time test from the university of washington, so here are mine (below). note that i used a pretty typical laptop, a wireless mouse, and (unfortunately) not the speediest of internet connections (although i doubt that actually affected these flash games). these are the results from my first attempts — i.e. i didn’t do any practice runs beforehand:

bbc sheep test

red-light green-light test

0.2438-0.2452 seconds. so, is that speedy then? (^_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. “swift as a deer….”)



  1. I’ve taken these before, but Michael says there is little SRT practice effect. Pretty terrible. I think I have low g but a well-developed verbal area of the brain/long term memory, hence I can make up for my low g by falling back on conceptual knowledge; sort of like Williams syndrome, but higher IQ. :-(

    sheep: 0.3262
    red/green: from 0.254 to 0.658; average: 0.3958 (large SD, which is a good predictor of low g)


  2. @elijah – “I think I have low g but a well-developed verbal area of the brain/long term memory….”

    i’m the opposite (i think) — i’m pretty sure that i have an above average — but not an extremely high — iq, but i do know (from a lifetime of hands-on experience) that the verbal area of my brain is next to useless. (~_^) (me and galton, so i like to console myself by believing that i’m in good company … except he was waaaay smarter than me, obviously!)


  3. @avi – “I had 0.3 for the sheep….”

    maybe you need to have come from a long line of pastoralists to be good on the sheep test. (~_^)


  4. Elijah,

    I took a look at your website and two things jumped out. First, you’re young: IIRC, a man’s reaction doesn’t peak till he’s pushing 40, and my own personal experience is that my reaction time improved rather noticeably in the first few years after I graduated from high school. Second, you’re interested in animal welfare and probably follow a vegetarian diet. This could be a biggie. The study referenced below (free full text) showed that vegetarians’ performance on timed Raven’s matrices and a backwards digit span assessment improved by about a standard deviation when they took creatine supplements:

    Rae C, Digney AL, Mcewan SR, Bates TC. Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. Proc Biol Sci. 2003;270(1529):2147-50.

    Creatine, of course, is pretty much absent in plant foods. If you aren’t yet taking a good creatine supplement, it might be worth looking into.


  5. @swevens: thanks for the comment. 1 – I am fairly sure that reaction time peaks around 20; it might be higher among 40 yr olds than 20 yr olds during the same year, though. 2 – I will check with a (nutritionist) friend about creatine, though I had poor reaction times before I became a militant animal-rights nutjob.


  6. Not the same test, but I took Elijah’s 7:24 PM post as a challenge and just cracked the 0.2 threshold here (0.212 was my initial attempt): http://cognitivefun.net/stat/1

    I had last taken this test about a year ago, three times, with an average time of 0.239. I wouldn’t be surprised if much of the improvement were down to creatine monohydrate, which I started taking in the last couple of months.


  7. Sheep: Avg 0.2858 (slowest: 0.373 – 1st sheep; fastest: 0.211 – 2nd sheep…then progressively slower on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th sheep…)
    Light: Avg just under 0.25

    Aside: For a long time, I’ve been curious about my own IQ score, though I don’t know exactly what it is. All signs (SATs, educational attainment, major, etc.) point to somewhere in the 120s (stronger quant than verbal), so I’m also in the “smart but not a genius” category…

    Another aside: Though it’s not an IQ test, I find the Mensa Brain Test app quite enjoyable! ;-)


  8. .22 average at the traffic light, with a minimum of .2 . And my IQ is above 130 last time i checked, more math and less verbal. Really, the 150 ms time of victorians seems suspect, very suspect. BTW, with an android app I got .32 as best result, so there is definitely an influence of the measuring device: even electronic timer based on LCD screen visual clues do not agree (20ms screen delay at best ;-) I think that one can compare people using one measuring device, but accross measuring devices….not so much.


  9. LOL at the sheep. Got penalized a few times, the fact that the sheeps move on the left before going is triggering some early shoot…not good for my cop or milatary career, there would be casualties ;) on the other hand, on the run where i had no 3S penalty, got .16 and .17 fastest, .25 slowest. Those sheeps woke the the victorian in me it seems ;)


  10. 0,2895 on the sheep today, though usually I m in the range of .265. The fastest time (.19 in my example) do not tell you much according to Jensen (mentally retarded happen to have as fast RT as the fastest with highest g-score). OTOH, the consistency and the lowest marks are more telling. 0,338 (!!!) on stoplights.

    I am 37, so i tell myself it’s all my age’s fault :) As for IQ, when in 14 I got 106 on some poor-man’s computer IQ test, and I was never tested. In free IQ tests i was in range anyware between 112 to 136. Judging from my real world performance, and tables of average and minimal IQ requirements for the jobs I held and achievements I got, I judge myself to be in range of 120-125.


  11. 0.2532 on the sheep, and 0.2642 on the lights. However as somebody previously pointed out, factors such as age can affect results.

    [From: “A literature Review on Reaction Time” – Robert J. Kosinski, Clemson University 2012 http://biae.clemson.edu/bpc/bp/lab/110/reaction.htm# ]

    “Simple reaction time shortens from infancy into the late 20s, then increases slowly until the 50s and 60s, and then lengthens faster as the person gets into his 70s and beyond (Welford, 1977; Jevas and Yan, 2001; Luchies et al., 2002; Rose et al., 2002; Der and Deary, 2006). Luchies et al.(2002) also reported that this age effect was more marked for complex reaction time tasks, and Der and Deary (2006) concurred..”

    In addition, handed-ness has an effect apparently (I’m mixed-handed):

    “The hemispheres of the cerebrum are specialized for different tasks. The left hemisphere is regarded as the verbal and logical brain, and the right hemisphere is thought to govern creativity, spatial relations, face recognition, and emotions, among other things. Also, the right hemisphere controls the left hand, and the left hemisphere controls the right hand. This has made researchers think that the left hand should be faster at reaction times involving spatial relationships (such as pointing at a target). The results of Boulinquez and Bartélémy (2000) and Bartélémy and Boulinquez (2001 and 2002) all supported this idea. Dane and Erzurumluoglu (2003) found that in handball players, the left-handed people were faster than right-handed people when the test involved the left hand, but there was no difference between the reaction times of the right and left handers when using the right hand. Finally, although right-handed male handball players had faster reaction times than right-handed women, there was no such sexual difference between left-handed men and women. The authors concluded that left-handed people have an inherent reaction time advantage. In an experiment using a computer mouse, Peters and Ivanoff (1999) found that right-handed people were faster with their right hand (as expected), but left-handed people were equally fast with both hands. The preferred hand was generally faster. However, the reaction time advantage of the preferred over the non-preferred hands was so small that they recommended alternating hands when using a mouse. Derakhshan (2006 and 2009) cautions that preferred hand is not always a good guide to the dominant hemisphere. In most people, a dominant (and faster) right hand implies a dominant left hemisphere. However, he found that a minority (20%-25%) of right-handed people actually had a dominant right hemisphere, and that reaction time on the right side of the body was slower in these people because commands had to originate in the right hemisphere and then cross over to the left hemisphere, and then get to the right hand. In other words, the side of the body with the longer reaction time (not always the side with the nonpreferred hand) is the side with the dominant hemisphere. Bryden (2002), using right-handed people only, found that task difficulty did not affect the reaction time difference between the left and right hands. Miller and Van Nes (2007) found that responses involving both hands were faster when the stimulus was presented to both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously. Because the right (emotional) hemisphere is supplied with input by the left eye, it might be suspected that the left visual field would be the fastest at identifying emotions. Alves et al. (2009) confirmed that faces showing happiness or fear were identified most rapidly when presented to the left visual field (e.g., and examined by the right hemisphere), and that neutral expressions were detected most rapidly by the right visual field. Godard and Fiori (2010) found that men are just as accurate at face recognition as women, but that women were faster. They also found that men were more strongly “lateralized” than women, with dominance of the right cerebral hemisphere. Muscians appear to have hemispheres that are more equally capable of paying attention to stimuli than non-muscians, and to have faster reaction times as well (Patston et al., 2007).”

    Gender apparently has an effect as well.


  12. I got 0.243 on the traffic lights

    For the sheep, after a few attempts wherein I jumped the gun, or activated a mouse gesture, or let the cursor move from the button unnoticed, I got 2.4 something.

    Apple wireless mouse.

    also, it’s 1:45 AM here (and I am about to go to sleep) so I might see if my score changes in the morning.


  13. Just got home from oral surgery. Still woozy under the influence of general anesthesia, nitrous oxide, oxycodon and four hours sleep. Yet I cut my reaction times rougly in half: 0.266, 0.289, 0.277, etc. I’ll try again when I’m completely sober.


  14. One could probably improve his results with a CRT monitor. E.g. my current monitor is an IPS type with a sizeable 24 ms input lag…


  15. .1998 on the sheep. As a 35-year-old woman, I’ll gladly accept being labelled a rocketing rabbit :)


  16. got the traffic lights to 0.25 on 2nd try so i’m going with

    0.25 / 0.25

    i’m okay with that as i’m getting older and dumberer :)


  17. @grey – “i’m okay with that as i’m getting older and dumberer :)”

    older and wiser! (or maybe older and more of a wiseguy? (~_^) )


  18. @swevens – “…just cracked the 0.2 threshold….”

    @anonymous – “…got .16 and .17 fastest, .25 slowest….”

    @nador – “0.186 for the sheep. Physicists FTW!”

    @dahlia – “.1998 on the sheep.”

    speedy gonzalezes! (^_^)


  19. @nador – “One could probably improve his results with a CRT monitor. E.g. my current monitor is an IPS type with a sizeable 24 ms input lag…”

    we should all probably keep in mind, too, that these signals have to travel through the innertubes (i.e. over the internet). that does take some amount of time.


  20. hbd chick,

    we should all probably keep in mind, too, that these signals have to travel through the innertubes (i.e. over the internet). that does take some amount of time.

    Probably not. It would take a rather stupid programmer. I also tried saturating my internet connection, so that bbc.co.uk ping over 0,5 s instead of 60 ms and that did not change the results.


  21. in the morning I got averages in the 0.22s and 0.23s on the traffic lights with a best average of 0.21

    i didn’t do the sheep again. i hate the sheep, they bring back bad memories of when I was a boy and I had to count the sheep as they left the yards after shearing. they would rush out as fast as they could in twos, threes, and fours leaping like springboks through the gate, sometimes one would be knocked over adding to the confusion. it was very difficult to keep count, and if i didn’t get an accurrate count my father wouldn’t be pleased (to put it euphemistically).


  22. “these signals have to travel through the innertubes”

    Nador is right. you download the code and it’s all done client side.

    but this brings to mind a recent tweet by John Carmack (famed game programmer of Wolfenstein etc.):

    “I can send an IP packet to Europe faster than I can send a pixel to the screen. How f’d up is that?”

    and as Nador already mentioned different screen technologies vary widely in their latency.


  23. Your average time is: 0.1434 seconds
    You are rated -> Rocketing rabbit
    Great score. Your reaction time shows you are very alert.

    Red light – green light


  24. @n/a – “Your average time is: 0.1434 seconds…. 0.196999999.”

    omg! you’re like some sort of ninja warrior! (^_^)

    tell us your secret! lots of red bull or a particular sort-of monitor, or what? or are you just a genius?! (^_^)


  25. I did the sheep again as I was almost done with a glass of Sangria last time… I improved to .1902 (from .1998).

    None of my individual scores were as fast as n/a’s average of .1434…. whew! My best is .159.


  26. @dahlia – “I did the sheep again as I was almost done with a glass of Sangria last time… I improved to .1902 (from .1998).”

    well THERE’S my problem! i haven’t been drinking ANY sangria during these tests! need to up my sangria intake here…. (^_^)


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