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Quantifying the benefits of using decision models with response time and accuracy data

Stafford, Tom, Pirrone, Angelo, Croucher, Mike and Krystalli, Anna (2020) Quantifying the benefits of using decision models with response time and accuracy data. Behavior Research Methods, 52 (5). 2142 - 2155. ISSN 1554-351X

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Identification Number: 10.3758/s13428-020-01372-w


Response time and accuracy are fundamental measures of behavioral science, but discerning participants’ underlying abilities can be masked by speed–accuracy trade-offs (SATOs). SATOs are often inadequately addressed in experiment analyses which focus on a single variable or which involve a suboptimal analytic correction. Models of decision-making, such as the drift diffusion model (DDM), provide a principled account of the decision-making process, allowing the recovery of SATO-unconfounded decision parameters from observed behavioral variables. For plausible parameters of a typical between-groups experiment, we simulate experimental data, for both real and null group differences in participants’ ability to discriminate stimuli (represented by differences in the drift rate parameter of the DDM used to generate the simulated data), for both systematic and null SATOs. We then use the DDM to fit the generated data. This allows the direct comparison of the specificity and sensitivity for testing of group differences of different measures (accuracy, reaction time, and the drift rate from the model fitting). Our purpose here is not to make a theoretical innovation in decision modeling, but to use established decision models to demonstrate and quantify the benefits of decision modeling for experimentalists. We show, in terms of reduction of required sample size, how decision modeling can allow dramatically more efficient data collection for set statistical power; we confirm and depict the non-linear speed–accuracy relation; and we show how accuracy can be a more sensitive measure than response time given decision parameters which reasonably reflect a typical experiment.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: CPNSS
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2020 12:57
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2024 22:12

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