Signal Detection Theory and Roc Analysis in Psychology and Diagnostics: Collected Papers

By John A. Swets | Go to book overview

and Sorkin ( 1985). They modeled a task in which the operator made an observation and then a detection decision about the existence of a dangerous condition after being alerted by a warning. The concern here has been for how the PPV of the first detector affects observed behavior of the human who is expected to respond immediately to a warning. To the extent that the human responds unreliably at some values of PPV, attention should be focused on the performance of the automatic detector, as well as on the performance of the human.

What needs to be done? From my perspective, two systems issues have received less deliberate attention than they deserve. First, who is taking what kinds of considerations into account in setting the automatic detector's thresholds for issuing a warning? The engineer attempts continually to develop detectors of greater sensitivity but must work with what is available at a given time, and he or she must also accept the prior probabilities of a dangerous condition as being what they are. However, the decision threshold is a powerful variable that requires and rewards very explicit concern. We saw, for example, in Figure 2 that PPV can vary from near 1.0 to as little as .1 for a realistic prior probability, .001, as the FPP varies below .01. The tendency observed and remarked on, to set the threshold to achieve a very high TPP without sensitive awareness of the corresponding values of FPP and PPV, can undermine warning effectiveness to a large extent and perhaps completely.

The second question is a repeat of the first in a setting (e.g., the aircraft cockpit) in which there are multiple automatic detectors (e.g., a dozen or more). When the thresholds of several automatic detectors are each set primarily to avoid a miss, the overall PPV of the system can be very low indeed. A procurement process in which several independent manufacturers set thresholds to meet a specified, very high TPP for their own detector--with an unspecified effect on its FPP and, hence, on the total system's PPV--is clearly not going to be adequate.

The science exists for choosing the best decision thresholds in high-stakes detection and diagnostic settings (Chapter 5). These quantitative procedures focus attention, in any given setting, on the data that need to be gathered on prior probabilities and on the judgments that need to be made about costs and benefits of relevant behaviors--and they show how to combine this information optimally in selecting one or more thresholds. The discipline and assistance these procedures provide in designing and operating detection systems remain to be applied to systems in which warnings of danger are critical.


REFERENCES

Comstock, J. R., & Arnegard, R. J. ( 1992). The multi-attribute task battery for human operator workload and strategic behavior research ( NASA Technical Memorandum No. 104174). Hampton, VA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Langley Research Center.

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Signal Detection Theory and Roc Analysis in Psychology and Diagnostics: Collected Papers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Scientific Psychology Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • I - Theory, Data, and Measures 1
  • 1 - The Relative Operating Characteristic in Psychology 7
  • Summary 28
  • References and Notes 29
  • 2 - Form of Empirical Rocs in Discrimination and Diagnostic Tasks 31
  • References 56
  • 3 - Indices of Discrimination or Diagnostic Accuracy 59
  • References 95
  • II - Accuracy and Efficacy of Diagnoses 97
  • 4 - Measuring the Accuracy of Diagnostic Systems 99
  • Concluding Remarks 115
  • References and Notes 116
  • 5 - Choosing the Right Decision Threshold in High-Stakes Diagnostics 121
  • Concluding Remarks 140
  • References 141
  • III - Applications in Various Diagnostic Fields 143
  • 6 - Medical Imaging Techniques: A Review 147
  • Summary 164
  • References 165
  • 7 - Medical Imaging Techniques: An Illustrative Study 169
  • 8 - Enhancing and Evaluating Diagnostic Accuracy 185
  • References 199
  • Appendix a Feature List 199
  • Appendix B Checklist 201
  • 9 - Information Retrieval Methods 205
  • Appendix a Feature List 233
  • 10 - Predictive Validities of Aptitude Tests 235
  • References 248
  • 11 - Accuracy and Response Bias in Survey Research 249
  • Conclusions 267
  • References 267
  • 12 - System Operator Response to Warnings of Danger 269
  • References 290
  • Appendix: Computer Programs for Fitting Rocs 293
  • Author Index 295
  • Subject Index 303
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