Noise VS Reaction

Problem Scenario

Have you ever been distracted by a noise in a car? Doing this can be very dangerous if you're the driver and can affect your passengers. Since noise does affect reaction time, hearing something loud will take your eyes off the road. By doing this you might lose control and get in accident. Noise and reaction are two things that bond very well. In this experiment it slows down your reaction by quite a bit. Comparing this to a real world situation can drastically impact you. This experiment is to show how it is used in daily life and might one day help you.

Broad Question

What is reaction versus noise?

Specific Question

What is the effect when someone is doing a reaction test with a ruler while playing loud noises in the background?


The effect of five people doing a reaction test with and without noise will greatly differ. The test with noise will be slower because the noise would jolt the person. Then the test without noise will be fast because there will be no distraction of noise to jolt them or cause them to grasp the ruler any slower.

Graph of Hypothesis



Independent Variable:


Dependent Variable:


Variables That Need To Be Controlled:

Test with and without noise, Hand Placement, Ruler Placement

Vocabulary List That Needs Explanation

General Plan

My general plan is take a group of 10 people (either gender) and take one person and measure their reaction time on noise (same with the rest of them). Noises include such as a crowd of people talking, annoying noises, people yelling, loud immediate noises like a car horn, alarm, siren, ect... The idea is to measure their reaction by taking a meter stick and dropping it when the noise goes off 1 time for each person. (1 Time=With Noise-1 Time=Without Noise) Then compare the results together. I will also make a contraption that will drop the ruler each time at the same height and that will hold it too.

Potential Problems And Solutions

Some potential problems that could happen are a failing of the two clamps. They could possibly unloosen but you could just tighten them back up. Another one is that some people could have hearing problems and they could make the results inaccurate. To solve that, you could just pick different people. Finally one more potential concern could be the app that would not work on the computer. You could then try to restart it or use a different program.

Safety Or Environmental Concerns

Some safety concerns when setting up this experiment could be tightening the clamps. Also it highly doubted but you could possibly damage the ruler or even property. One environmental concern could be disturbing people around you when you are using the loud noise. You should pick a good spot and a somewhat soundproof room for best results and not disturb.

Experimental Design

What is your experimental unit?

One Ruler

Number Of Trials:

1 With Noise Per Person-1 Without Noise Per Person-10 People-20 Results-(10 with noise and 10 without noise)

Number Of Subjects In Each trial:

(1 Person Per Trial) (10 People for Trials (Amount) (20 Trials Total)

Number of Observations:

(1 with noise and 1 without noise per person) (10 People-20 Trials)

When data will be collected


Where will data be collected?:

This data will be collected in the science room and my house.

Resources and Budget Table

Number needed
Where I will get this
Meter Stick

Detailed Procedure

(Step 1) Gather Materials- You will need- Meter stick, Ten People, A computer with an amp, Two clamps, A sturdy table, A document on the computer to record the result in a table - (Step 2) Make an accurate contraption-Take a clamp and put it on the table with the other clamp holding it in place for best results- (Step 3) Gather 10 people and have a ruler clamped down on the bottom end - (Step 4) Take the computer and plug it in the amp with a special cord and then open up Garageband-(Noises are included with the software)-(Step 5) Then when you have the persons hand under the ruler, at the same time press the clamp and the noise at the same time 1 time for each person with and without the noise and record results-(Noises can be mixed up any time) (Step 6) Gather all results and finally compare them.

Photo List

I will take pictures of the two clamps holding the meter stick. I will also include my computer and my amp in the background.

Time Line

2/2/13-2/3/13-Build Contraption
2/12/13-Start Experiment
2/15/13-Collect All Data and Organize It
2/25/13-Start with Poster/Start Organizing It

Data Table

With Noise
Without Noise

Data Analysis

All Raw Data

With Noise
Without Noise






My results reflected my hypothesis and showed that the runs with noise slowed down reaction time than the runs without the noise. Every person was slower with noise than if they didn't have any and it was a great difference.


In my experiment I was testing the relationship of five people doing a reaction test with and without noise using the ruler experiment. My hypothesis was the the test with noise was slower and the test without noise was faster. The results matched my hypothesis and proved that noise does effect reaction time. Therefore, I can say that as a result of listening to noise it can easily distract and slow down your reflexes.


For my experiment I was testing the relationship of five people doing a reaction test with and without noise using the ruler experiment. In my findings I found out that noise does effect reaction time. There were some trends in my graph that showed changes throughout testing five people with and without noise. On average the reaction with noise was about 37 centimeters. Then the test without noise showed 23 centimeters on average of the five people. There was a drastic increase as noise was added for this experiment. The two variables such as the independent and dependent were very strong. They showed a very strong correlation because one impacts the other. There were no major problems while doing this experiment but one to look out for when doing it is to make sure your two clamps are sturdy and accessible to use. If I was to improve my experiment I would maybe control my noises a bit more. I used a loud crowd of people talking, lawn mowers, alarms, people yelling and more. Since they were all different for each person I tried to make it seem like an everyday example. For example, if people are in a car they might listen to those kinds of noises and look in a different direction taking their eyes off the road. By doing this experiment, it is to prove how noise effects reaction and even save lives.

Benefit to Community and/or Science

By doing this experiment I can prove that noise effects reaction time in a drastic manner depending on how you do it. As you know now how easy it is to be distracted this test can help you to know ahead of time that noise is not always the most important thing to listen to. If you are in a car, taking your eyes off the road to look at something you hear slows down your reaction time by quite a bit. If you hear something that catches your attention you immediately put yourself or others in danger.

Background Research

Reaction time is a huge part in my experiment so it's helpful to know what it is. Reaction is the act or process of responding to something. We do it all the time and even when your reading this because your responding to what is being read through your eyes and sent to your brain. As someone drops the ruler we react to it in a matter of time. It is different for everybody and it can also depend on the physical shape and age. I tested people between 14 and 35 and they seemed to be all within the average range. Though younger kids tend to have a faster reaction time than older adults. As teens are beginning to drive they frequently listen to music loudly in their car and get distracted very easily. This increases the danger rating because all starting drivers are inexperienced. Reactions are important in everyday life and they can easily be slowed down.

Noise or such as sound is also a very important part in this experiment. The definition of sound is a mechanical wave of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing. We use sound to communicate and guide us through life. Without it, other options are available but it is a very valuable source we are given. The perception of sound in any organism is limited to a certain range of frequencies. For humans, hearing is normally limited to frequencies to about 20 Hz, although these limits are not definite. The upper limit generally decreases with age. Other species have a different range of hearing. For example, dogs can perceive vibrations higher than 20 kHz, but are deaf to anything below 40 Hz. As a signal perceived by one of the major senses, sound is used by many species for detecting danger, navigation, predation, and communication.

Another thing that would be good to know for my experiment is how sound travels. My experiment deals with various types of sound, so I want to have a basic understanding of how different sounds travel. Sound traveles in waves and these waves are created by vibrations. For example, if you strum a guitar, you are making it vibrate, therefore creating sound waves that travel to you. Different volumes of sound are created by more or less vibrations. If you strum your guitar very hard, you are making it vibrate more, therefore creating a lower sound. If you strum the guitar softly, you are creating less vibrations, therefore creating a softer sound. This is how different volumes of sound are created, and travel.


"Sound." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Mar. 2013. Web. 24 Mar. 2013.

"Reaction." Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2013.


In my experiment I was testing relationship of five people doing a reaction test with and without noise using the ruler experiment. The test with noise had a slower impact on the reaction and the test without noise had a faster reaction impact. Both tests proved that reaction time can be easily slowed down by noise. You can easily do this experiment too. All you need is a computer, an amp, two clamps, a sturdy table, and a cord that plugs in through the computer and into the amp. You can then record the data as you do the experiment. This is a very easy experiment that can prove the difference between noise and reaction time.