Reaction time to visual stimulus in firefighters and healthy trained subjects

A preliminary comparative study

Fabrizio Perroni, Eric Mol, Anthony Walker, Calogero Alaimo, Laura Guidetti, Lamberto Cignitti, Carlo Baldari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: In order to stay safe, and to successfully complete their work, firefighters have to constantly assess and process large numbers of sensory stimuli and adapt to the inherent risks present in the working environment. Objective: The purposes of the present preliminary study were to analyse the speed of Reaction Time responses (RT) of Italian Firefighters and to compare their cognitive responses with non-firefighting subjects. Methods: Anthropometric (weight, height and BMI) and RT (time-to-completion -TTC-, mean of reaction time -MRT-, and errors made -E-) evaluations were administered at 16 volunteers (Age: 40.3 ± 6.7 yrs; BMI: 23.8 ± 2.3 kg/m 2 ) divided in Firefighters (FG) and Control (CG) groups. RT test consisted of 3 trials (T1 = 1s of stimulus duration and 1s interval between stimulus and the other; T2 = 0.5s of stimulus duration and 1s interval between stimulus and the other; T3 = 0.5s of stimulus duration and 0.5s interval between stimulus and the other). Mann Whitney U test between groups was applied to asses differences (p = 0.05) in TTC, MRT, and E while Friedmann test and Dunn-Sidak post hoc were used to evaluate significant differences in the 3 trials in each variable of each group. Results: No significant differences based on anthropometric parameters were observed between groups. Despite no significant differences emerged for TTC and MRT between groups, we observed significant differences in E between groups (CG = 4; FG =12) and in the 3rd condition in each variable of each group. Conclusion: Workout programs that integrate reaction time training with job performance should be created to increase job performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
JournalOpen Sports Sciences Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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