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His tests involved a selection of over 10,000 men, women and children from the London public.
The first scientist to measure reaction time in the laboratory was Franciscus Donders (1869).
The idea is that as the size of the set of digits increases the number of processes that need to be completed before a decision can be made increases as well.
So if the subject has 4 items in short-term memory (STM), then after encoding the information from the probe stimulus the subject needs to compare the probe to each of the 4 items in memory and then make a decision.
Uncertainty is measured in "bits", which are defined as the quantity of information that reduces uncertainty by half in information theory.
In Hick's experiment, the reaction time is found to be a function of the binary logarithm of the number of available choices (n).
Reaction time to determine whether they were identical or not was a linear function of the angular difference between their orientation, whether in the picture plane or in depth.
They concluded that the observers performed a constant-rate mental rotation to align the two objects so they could be compared.
The law is usually expressed by the formula Hick's law has interesting modern applications in marketing, where restaurant menus and web interfaces (among other things) take advantage of its principles in striving to achieve speed and ease of use for the consumer.Donders found that simple reaction time is shorter than recognition reaction time, and that choice reaction time is longer than both.By subtracting simple reaction time from choice reaction time, for example, it is possible to calculate how much time is needed to make the connection.Despite this, Donders' theories are still of interest and his ideas are still used in certain areas of psychology, which now have the statistical tools to use them more accurately. The experiment measured the subject's reaction time based on number of possible choices during any given trial.Hick showed that the individual's reaction time increased by a constant amount as a function of available choices, or the "uncertainty" involved in which reaction stimulus would appear next.