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

By John A. Swets | Go to book overview

9
Information Retrieval Methods

A desirable measure of retrieval performance would have the following properties. First, it would express solely the ability of a retrieval system to distinguish between wanted and unwanted items--that is, it would be a measure of "effectiveness" only, leaving for separate consideration factors related to cost or "efficiency." Second, the desired measure would not be confounded by the relative willingness of the system to emit items--it would express discrimination power independent of any "acceptance criterion" employed, whether the criterion is characteristic of the system or adjusted by the user. Third, the measure would be a single number--in preference, for example, to a pair of numbers which may covary in a loosely specified way, or a curve representing a table of several pairs of numbers--so that it could be transmitted simply and apprehended immediately. Fourth, and finally, the measure would allow complete ordering of different performances, indicate the amount of difference separating any two performances, and assess the performance of any one system in absolute terms--that is, the metric would be a scale with a unit, a true zero, and a maximum value. Given a measure with these properties, we could be confident of having a pure and valid index of how well a retrieval system (or method) was performing the function it was primarily designed to accomplish, and we could reasonably ask questions of the form, "Shall we pay X dollars for Y units of effectiveness?"

In a previous article I reviewed 10 measures that had been suggested prior to 1963, and proposed another ( 1). None of the 10 measures, and none that has come to my attention since then, has more than two of the properties just listed. Some of them, including those most widely used, have the first two properties, and some of the others have the last two properties. The measure I proposed, one drawn from statistical decision theory, has the potential to satisfy all four de-

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

• 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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