Testing Signal-Detection Models of Yes/No and Two-Alternative Forced-Choice Recognition Memory

Yoonhee Jang, John T. Wixted, David E. Huber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The current study compared 3 models of recognition memory in their ability to generalize across yes/no and 2-alternative forced-choice (2AFC) testing. The unequal-variance signal-detection model assumes a continuous memory strength process. The dual-process signal-detection model adds a thresholdlike recollection process to a continuous familiarity process. The mixture signal-detection model assumes a continuous memory strength process, but the old item distribution consists of a mixture of 2 distributions with different means. Prior efforts comparing the ability of the models to characterize data from both test formats did not consider the role of parameter reliability, which can be critical when comparing models that differ in flexibility. Parametric bootstrap simulations revealed that parameter regressions based on separate fits of each test type only served to identify the least flexible model. However, simultaneous fits of receiver-operating characteristic data from both test types with goodness-of-fit adjusted with Akaike's information criterion (AIC) successfully recovered the true model that generated the data. With AIC and simultaneous fits to real data, the unequal-variance signal-detection model was found to provide the best account across yes/no and 2AFC testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-306
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Volume138
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009

Keywords

  • model flexibility
  • parameter reliability
  • signal-detection theory
  • two-alternative forced-choice recognition memory
  • yes/no recognition memory

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