Do reaction time and accuracy measure the same aspects of letter recognition?

Jeffrey L. Santee, Howard E. Egeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Two experiments with 26 undergraduates indicated that RT and accuracy are not always equivalent measures of the underlying processes involved in the recognition of visually presented letters. In conjunction with previous work, findings suggest the following generalizations: (a) Under data-limited viewing conditions, response accuracy is sensitive to early perceptual interference between target and noise items, whereas RT is more sensitive to later processes involved in response interference. (b) Under resource-limited viewing conditions, both accuracy and RT are sensitive to events occurring in the later rather than the earlier stages of processing. Since the 2 dependent measures do not always reflect the same perceptual processes, it is suggested that the convergence of RT and accuracy within the context of a specific information processing model should be demonstrated empirically rather than assumed a priori. (28 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-501
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 1982
Externally publishedYes


  • visually presented letters, comparability of RT vs accuracy measures of letter recognition, college students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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