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

By John A. Swets | Go to book overview

ing to improve on, a given technique or system for diagnosis ( Swets & Pickett, 1982).

The bonus that the appropriate detection-theory model carries along is the ability it provides, via the ROC, to obtain a relatively pure index of discrimination capacity--one largely independent of the decision criterion or choice tendency--and also an index of the decision criterion that is operative in any given instance. Experimental psychology and practical fields thereby gain a valid and reliable index of discrimination capacity. Psychology, especially, acquires an ability to determine whether various variables that effect a change in performance do so by affecting discrimination acuity or the decision criterion (Chapter 1). An example here is the finding that the declining hit rate observed in perceptual vigilance experiments is often the result of an increasingly strict criterion rather than of decreasing sensitivity ( Parasuraman, 1984).

Practical fields need a criterion-free index of discrimination capacity when the criterion used with a given system varies widely over the different settings in which that system is used, and for which it is being evaluated. Thus, for example, the strictness of the criterion used with a particular imaging system in clinical medicine can be quite different in screening and referral settings, and the criterion used with a weather forecasting system will differ from one geographical region to another and from one user of forecast information to another.

Practical fields, moreover, acquire an ability from the ROC to assess the efficacy of a diagnostic system for a specific setting. In a given setting, one is fundamentally concerned with some measure of the system's utility, for example, its expected value or payoff, as determined by the probabilities of the various outcomes of the decision and by the benefits and costs of those outcomes. For specific settings in which the probabilities, benefits, and costs are stable and can be estimated, the emphasis is more on the payoff associated with a particular point on the ROC--that is, with a particular decision criterion--than on an index of the locus of all ROC points. For any of several decision rules that seek to maximize one or another quantity related to utility, one can calculate the optimal decision criterion, or operating point on the ROC ( Green & Swets, 1966/ 1988; Swets & Pickett, 1982; Swets & Swets, 1979). And then, usually, the system can be adjusted to operate at or near that criterion or point. Because the binormal slopes of empirical ROCs vary widely from one instance to another, in a manner so far not predictable, both the calculation of, and adjustment to, the optimal criterion depend on having the empirical ROC in hand.


REFERENCES

Bacus, J. W. ( 1982). Application of digital image processing techniques to cytology automation (Tech. Rep.) Chicago: Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Medical Automation Research Unit.

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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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