The REACTION System: Automatic Sound Segmentation and Word Spotting for Verbal Reaction Time Tests

Gunnar Eisenberg; Thomas Sikora
DAFx-2007 - Bordeaux
Reaction tests are typical tests from the field of psychological research and communication science in which a test person is presented some stimulus like a photo, a sound, or written words. The individual has to evaluate the stimulus as fast as possible in a predefined manner and has to react by presenting the result of the evaluation. This could be by pushing a button in simple reaction tests or by saying an answer in verbal reaction tests. The reaction time between the onset of the stimulus and the onset of the response can be used as a degree of difficulty for performing the given evaluation. Compared to simple reaction tests verbal reaction tests are very powerful since the individual can simply say the answer which is the most natural way of answering. The drawback for verbal reaction tests is that today the reaction times still have to be determined manually. This means that a person has to listen through all audio recordings taken during test sessions and mark stimuli times and word beginnings one by one which is very time consuming and people-intensive. To replace the manual evaluation of reaction tests this article presents the REACTION (Reaction Time Determination) system which can automatically determine the reaction times of a test session by analyzing the audio recording of the session. The system automatically detects the onsets of stimuli as well as the onsets of answers. The recording is furthermore segmented into parts each containing one stimulus and the following reaction which further facilitates the transcription of the spoken words for a semantic evaluation.