Dissociating speed and accuracy in absolute identification: The effect of unequal stimulus spacing

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Journal Article
Psychological Research, 2009, 73 (3), pp. 308 - 316
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Identification accuracy for sets of perceptually discriminable stimuli ordered on a single dimension (e.g., line length) is remarkably low, indicating a fundamental limit on information processing capacity. This surprising limit has naturally led to a focus on measuring and modeling choice probability in absolute identification research. We show that choice response time (RT) results can enrich our understanding of absolute identification by investigating dissociation between RT and accuracy as a function of stimulus spacing. The dissociation is predicted by the SAMBA model of absolute identification (Brown, Marley, Dockin, & Heathcote, ), but cannot easily be accommodated by other theories. We show that SAMBA provides an accurate, parameter free, account of the dissociation that emerges from the architecture of the model and the physical attributes of the stimuli, rather than through numerical adjustment. This violation of the pervasive monotonic relationship between RT and accuracy has implications for model development, which are discussed.
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