A fractionation technique was employed to determine the locus of reaction time delay in Down syndrome (DS) and other adult subjects with mental retardation (MH). Twenty-three subjects (8 nondisabled, 8 MH, and 7 DS) responded to a light, sound, and combination light/sound signal. Dependent measures of premotor time, motor time, total reaction time, and movement time were obtained during a 20° elbow extension movement and were analyzed separately. As expected, both MH and DS subjects were slower and more variable in their responses than the subjects without disabilities. In turn, DS subjects were significantly slower but not more variable than the MH subjects. There were no significant differences between the DS and MH subjects on movement times. Evidence for both a specific (premotor) and a generalized (both premotor and motor) locus of delay was found. Some difference in signal effect was also found for the DS subjects.
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