Summary: PSYCHOMETRIKA--VOL. 54, NO. 3, 542-545
R. Duncan Luce. Response Times: Their Role in Inferring Elementary Mental Orga-
nization. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. 562 pp.
Time reveals all things--Erasmus
The use of response times in elucidating perceptual and cognitive processes can be
traced back more than a century, to the influential work of Donders and Wundt. During
the first half of the twentieth century however, experimental psychology was domi-
nated by a cognitively sterile form of behaviorism and interest in response times waned.
The rise of the information processing approach in the early 1950's resulted in a re-
newed focus on response time. This resurgence was spearheaded by the important
papers of Hick (1952), Hyman (1953), and Welford (1952). Later, several seminal pa-
pers by Sternberg (1966, 1969) carried the momentum through the 1960's and into the
early 1970's. Today, the use of response times to infer the nature of perceptual and
cognitive processes is fundamental in experimental psychology. Yet in spite of the
major role that response time research has played, there have been only a few books
written about response time theory. Luce's book is the first to attempt an overview of
virtually the entire field.