Psychology 205 Perception
30 January 03
Day 04
Signal Detection Theory
Four categories of stimuli & responses:
hits, misses, false alarms, & correct rejections
Two aspects measured:
Criterion

ß

bias, mental set

Sensitivity

d’

physiological attunement

Assumptions:
properties of "normality" means & standard deviations; z scores
Some examples, and with criterion shifts:

Y=N

in “middle”


Y< N

to right


Y> N

to left

Signal Detection Methods
Four categories of responses
Two aspects to be measured from a 2X2 matrix of data
in Signal Detection Theory:
Criterion

ß

bias


mental set

Sensitivity

d’

physiological attunement

Assumptions:
1. normal distribution (of neural noise)
relatively long digression into:
properties of "normality" means & standard deviations z scores
What is the standard deviation?
General idea:
Find the mean. Take all values in the distribution and add up the difference between the mean and each value Find average.
Actual calculation:
Square the differences, average them, and take the square root of the average.
Purpose: emphasizes the larger differences
YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW THIS
Assumptions:
1. normal distribution (of noise) properties of "normality" means & standard deviations z scores
2. signal with unchanging strength
3. fixed decision criterion
add signal to the noise and it moves the entire distribution to the right
Assumptions:
1. normal distribution (of noise) properties of "normality" means & standard deviations z scores
2. signal with unchanging strength
3. fixed decision criterion
Computational purpose of Signal Detection Theory is
to measure d’
(sensitivity)
procedure:
Go from numbers in a 2X2 table to hypothetical noise and signal + noise distributions.
From those distributions, calculate d’
will do later
must be aware of possible biases,
criterion shifts:
1. unbiased

Y=N

in “middle”


Y< N

to right


Y> N

to left

Question:
why would one’s criterion ever vary?
the theory asks that one consider the
relative costs of false alarms and misses, and/or
relative benefits of hits and correct rejections
How to calculate sensitivity:
d' = z [CR/(CR+FA)]
z [M/(H+M)]
one of the two formula to know in this course
d' = z [CR/(CR+FA)] z [M/(H+M)]
d' = z [84/(84+16)] z[16/(84+16)]
d' = z [CR/(CR+FA)] z [M/(H+M)]
d' = z [84/(84+16)] z[16/(84+16)]
d' =
z[.84] z[.16]
see table
d' = z [CR/(CR+FA)] z [M/(H+M)]
d' = z [84/(84+16)] z[16/(84+16)]
d' =

z[.84] z[.16]

see table

d' =

1.00 (1.00)

d' =

2.00
> the mean of the signal + noise

distribution is two SDs above the mean of the noise distribution; the signal strength is 2 SDs of the ambient noise in the nervous system
d' = z [CR/(CR+FA)] z [M/(H+M)]
d' = z [98/(98+2)] z[50/(50+50)]
d' = z [CR/(CR+FA)] z [M/(H+M)]
d' = z [98/(98+2)] z[50/(50+50)]
d' =

z [.98] z[.50]

d' =

2.0 0.0

= 2.0

d' = z [CR/(CR+FA)] z [M/(H+M)]
d' = z [69/(69+31)] z[7/(7+93)]
d' = z [CR/(CR+FA)] z [M/(H+M)]
d' = z [69/(69+31)] z[7/(7+93)]
d' =

z [.69] z[.07]*

see table

d' =

.50 (1.50) = 2.00

*not a value you need to know
For the 1st prelim:
1. understand the 2x2 table

2. understand the graph pair (N & S+N)

3. be able to draw a graph pair

4. know the 9 value pairs in the table

5. be able to use the formula
(go back and forth between the table and the graphs)
Caveat: the criterion does not have to be between the means of the noise and the signal + noise distributions
Signal Detection Theory
Four categories of stimuli & responses:
hits, misses, false alarms, & correct rejections
Two aspects measured:
Criterion

ß

bias, mental set

Sensitivity

d’

physiological attunement > our major

Assumptions:

interest

properties of "normality" means & standard deviations; z scores
Some examples, and with criterion shifts:

Y=N

in “middle”

> Case 1


Y< N

to right

> Case 2


Y> N

to left

> Case 3

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