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subtraction method

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A technique for estimating the duration of a psychological process by measuring the reaction time for a task that incorporates the psychological process in question, and the reaction time for a task that does not incorporate it, and then subtracting the second from the first. It was introduced by the Dutch ophthalmologist Franciscus Cornelius Donders (1818–89) in his work on simple reaction time and choice reaction time, published in the Archives of Anatomy and Physiology in 1868. Also called the subtractive method or Donders' method.

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