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

By John A. Swets | Go to book overview

12
System Operator Response to Warnings of Danger

There are many instances in which system operators tend to respond slowly or not at all to warnings of danger and some instances in which the operators disable the warning devices. A primary reason is that the warnings have "cried wolf" too often to be credible (e.g., Sorkin, 1988). Moreover, the penalties of leaving the operational task to respond to false alarms may be considerable; thus, for example, the Federal Aviation Administration not long ago ordered a shutdown of collision-warning devices on commercial airliners because of serious distractions they represented both to pilots and air traffic controllers.

In this chapter, I treat quantitative aspects of crying wolf in terms of the positive predictive value (PPV) of a warning; that is, the probability that a warning will truly indicate some specified dangerous condition. I consider first theory and quantification of the PPV and then present a laboratory experiment in which participants were exposed to different values of PPV. The participants performed a continous, manual tracking task at a computer workstation, during which randomly occurring warnings required them to leave the tracking task to make a specified response to the warning. With a bonus scheme, premiums were placed on carefully setting an automated tracker before leaving the tracking task and on responding quickly to the warning. Over five conditions, the PPV of the warning was set variously at 0.25, 0.50, 0.61, and 0.75.

A practical concern is that values of PPV sufficient to ensure a reliable response are difficult to attain. The reason is that even very sensitive detectors will have a low PPV because the prior probability (base rate) of a dangerous condition is usually very low. The problem is exacerbated by the tendency of system engineers to set detector thresholds for issuing a warning leniently enough to achieve a very low probability that the detector will miss a dangerous

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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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