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Chronoscope, England, 1921-1939

People’s reaction times were tested using this instrument. It is known as a chronoscope. It tested to an accuracy of one hundredth of a second. The device was developed and used by the National Institute of Industrial Psychology (NIIP). The NIIP was set up in Britain in 1921. It applied physiology and psychology to industry and business to improve efficiency. The NIIP developed tests such as this to discover which people were suited to particular jobs. Chronoscopes were also employed in laboratories of experimental psychology in the 1880s and 1890s. Here they were used to determine the speed of thought.

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Glossary: chronoscope

Electronic device for measuring extremely short intervals of time with great accuracy, such as for determining the velocity of projectiles.