Human Anatomy & Physiology Nervous System Lab: Effects of Descrimination on Reaction Time

Last week, students in Mrs. Lawson’s Anatomy & Physiology Class determined the effects of discrimination on reaction time as it relates to nerve synapses by conducting an activity with playing cards.

Students measured, in seconds, the amount of time it took to:

  1. Deal cards into one pile
  2. Deal cards into two piles, sorting out red versus black cards, and
  3. Deal cards into four separate piles, sorting them out into four different suits.

Students did the third portion five times to see if their time improved as they got practice, or programmed the circuit. This reinforced the concept that the more synapses the nerve impulse must cross, the longer it takes to react. After recording their data and filling out their lab reports, they proceeded to the second part of the lab: demonstrating the patellar tendon reflex and labelling the patellar tendon reflex arc.

On the lab, student Clayton Stoddard said, “Our class is very competitive and this lab not only allowed us to see what is going on when we’re recognizing differences in objects, but it also allowed our class to compete in our schoolwork, which is always fun. I had never really thought about what is going on internally when I am using my senses, so almost all that we talked about during this lesson and activity was both exciting and new to learn about.” He added, “Many of our teachers attempt to incorporate hands-on interaction to break the normality of class. I especially enjoyed the casual learning environment that came from this lab and every other lab that Mrs. Lawson does for us.”

Check out photos from the lab below!