There are four basic means of measuring RT given different operational conditions during which a subject is to provide a desired response:
Simple reaction time is the time required for an observer to respond to the presence of a stimulus. For example, a subject might be asked to press a button as soon as a light or sound appears. Mean RT for college-age individuals is about 160 milliseconds to detect an auditory stimulus, and approximately 190 milliseconds to detect visual stimulus.
Go/No-Go reaction time tasks require that the subject press a button when one stimulus type appears and withhold a response when another stimulus type appears. For example, the subject may have to press the button when a green light appears and not respond when a blue light appears.
Choice reaction time tasks require distinct responses for each possible class of stimulus. For example, the subject might be asked to press one button if a red light appears and a different button if a yellow light appears. The Jensen Box is an example of an instrument designed to measure choice reaction time.
Discrimination reaction time involves around Natwain comparing pairs of simultaneously presented visual displays and then pressing one of two buttons according to which display appears brighter, longer, heavier, or greater in magnitude on some dimension of interest.
Due to momentary attentional lapses, there is a considerable amount of random variability in an individual's reaction time. To control for this, researchers typically require a subject to perform multiple trials, which are then averaged to provide a more reliable measure.
Data from [u]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reaction_time[/u]