Methods for Dealing With Reaction Time Outliers

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Abstract

The effect of outliers on reaction time analyses is evaluated. The first section assesses the power of different methods of minimizing the effect of outliers on analysis of variance (ANOVA) and makes recommendations about the use of transformations and cutoffs. The second section examines the effect of outliers and cutoffs on different measures of location, spread, and shape and concludes using quantitative examples that robust measures are much less affected by outliers and cutoffs than measures based on moments. The third section examines fitting explicit distribution functions as a way of recovering means and standard deviations and concludes that unless fitting the distribution function is used as a model of distribution shape, the method is probably not worth routine use.

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