Reaction Times for Esport Competitors and Traditional Physical Athletes are Faster than Noncompetitive Peers




reaction time, esports, auditory response, visual response, tactile response


Reaction time (RT), time to respond to a stimulus, has been shown to be faster among traditional physical athletes and esport competitors than nonathletes/noncompetitors; however, no comparison has been made between traditional physical athletes and esport competitors. This research examined RTs of healthy 18 to 22 year-old college football athletes, esport competitors, and a control group (n = 12 for each group). RT (ms) to visual (color cue test, ruler drop test), auditory (sound cue test), and tactile stimuli (probe grabbing test) was collected in duplicate. RTs for individual tests and calculated composite RTs were compared between groups by ANOVA and post hoc t-tests. RTs to auditory stimuli were significantly slower than to visual or tactile stimuli (F(140, 3) = 286.5, p = 0.0000). Esport competitors significantly outperformed noncompetitive controls in probe grabbing (p = 0.0175) and ruler drop tests (p = 0.0016). Football players had similar faster RTs in probe grabbing (p = 0.0002) and ruler drop tests (p = 0.0013) compared to controls. Esport competitors also had significantly faster RTs in the color cue test than controls (p = 0.05). Although esport competitors and football athletes had faster composite RTs than controls (p = 0.0042 and p = 0.0104, respectively), RTs between esport competitors and football athletes were not significantly different. A trend was seen in that esport competitors had faster RTs than football athletes in all tests except probe grabbing. Involvement in esports or football is positively correlated with faster RT, although it is not demonstrated whether play improves RT or those with inherently faster RTs tend to excel in activities requiring rapid response.