Journal of Biosocial Science

Research Article

Reaction times and intelligence: a comparison of Japanese and British children

Richard Lynna1 and T. Shigehisaa2

a1 Psychology Department, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland

a2 Psychology Department, Tokyo Kasei-gakunin University, Japan


Japanese and British 9-year-old children were compared on the standard progressive matrices and twelve reaction time parameters providing measures of simple and complex decision times, movement times and variabilities. The mean of the Japanese children on the progressive matrices exceeded that of the British children by 0·65 SD units and on the decision times component of reaction times by 0·50 SD units, suggesting that the high Japanese mean on psychometric intelligence is largely explicable in terms of the more efficient processing of information at the neurological level. Japanese children also showed faster movement times but, contrary to expectation, had greater variabilities than British children.

(Received July 30 1990)