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Unformatted text preview: Experiment 1
To quantify the statistical ﬂuctuations in your measured reaction time and to use these
statistics to determine if your reaction time to clutch your hand is the same for both hands.
In the process you will demonstrate the signiﬁcance (or lack thereof) of errors in measurement
through statistical analysis and the propagation of uncertainty in measured quantities to the
uncertainty of values calculated from these quantities. Theory
All measured quantities have inherent uncertainty. By expressing the size of the uncertainty in a measurement along with the measured value you can express the range of values
consistent with your measurement.
Consider the example of a bus driver who is asked how high his bus is. He might look at
the bus and state that it is 3 m high, however if you told him the bridge that he has to pass
under has a clearance of 3.1 m he might not be conﬁdent his bus will pass under. Why?
Because he knows that his statement that his truck is 3 m high was only a guess and has a
signiﬁcant amount of uncertainty. If he were to give the keys to another driver at the end of
his shift and were to tell her “the bus is 3 m high” she might assume it is safe to drive under
the bridge with a clearance of 3.1 m. In common practice we’d use phrases like “the bus is
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This note was uploaded on 01/27/2012 for the course PHY 2048l taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at University of Central Florida.
- Fall '08