Mental chronometry with simple linear regression

Jenn Yeu Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Typically, mental chronometry is performed by means of introducing an independent variable postulated to affect selectively some stage of a presumed multistage process. However, the effect could be a global one that spreads proportionally over all stages of the process. Currently, there is no method to test this possibility although simple linear regression might serve the purpose. In the present study, the regression approach was tested with tasks (memory scanning and mental rotation) that involved a selective effect and with a task (word superiority effect) that involved a global effect, by the dominant theories. The results indicate (1) the manipulation of the size of a memory set or of angular disparity affects the intercept of the regression function that relates the times for memory scanning with different set sizes or for mental rotation with different angular disparities and (2) the manipulation of context affects the slope of the regression function that relates the times for detecting a target character under word and nonword conditions. These ratify the regression approach as a useful method for doing mental chronometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-513
Number of pages15
JournalPerceptual and motor skills
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Oct
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems


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