Signal Detection: Mechanisms, Models, and Applications

By Michael L. Commons; John A. Nevin et al. | Go to book overview

2
Behavioral Models of Signal Detection and Detection Models of Choice

Brent Alsop

University of Auckland, New Zealand

Nevin, Jenkins, Whittaker, and Yarensky ( 1977) and Davison and Tustin ( 1978) initiated a synthesis of two previously distinct areas within experimental psychology, namely, signal-detection theory (e.g., Green & Swets, 1974), and free-operant choice theory (e.g., Baum, 1974). This chapter continues this synthesis, moving closer to a parsimonious and integrated treatment of the effects of reinforcers and stimuli in signal-detection and free-operant procedures.


A SYNOPSIS OF PAST RESEARCH

In a typical signal-detection procedure the subject must choose between two possible concurrent response alternatives (e.g., "Yes" or "No"; peck left or peck right) following each presentation of one of two stimuli. Behavioral approaches to signal-detection performance have focused on this presentation of concurrently available response alternatives, stressing its procedural similarity to the standard free-operant concurrent-schedule procedure ( Davison & Jenkins, 1985; Davison & Tustin, 1978; Nevin et al., 1977). Hence, Davison and Tustin ( 1978) developed their model of signal-detection performance from the standard model of concurrent-schedule performance, the generalized matching law ( Baum, 1974), given by the equation:

(1)

-39-

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