Tag Archives: reaction time

Galileo and Reaction Time Research

A recent issue of Perception, includes an article entitled, “Galileo, measurement of the velocity of light, and the reaction times” by Renato Foschi of the Facoltà di Psicologia 1, Università di Roma and Matteo Leone of the Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Genova. In this article Foschi and Leone, drawing on archival material, discuss Galileo Galilei’s experimental work on the velocity of light as an early instance of reaction time research. The abstract to this article reads:

According to the commonly accepted view, Galileo Galilei devised in 1638 an experiment that seemed able to show that the velocity of light is finite. An analysis of archival material shows that two decades later members of the Florence scientific society Accademia del Cimento followed Galileo guidelines by actually attempting to measure the velocity of light and suggesting improvements. This analysis also reveals a fundamental difference between Galileo’s and Florence academy’s methodologies and that Galileo’s experiment was, in some respects, a pioneering work affecting also the history of the psychology of perception.