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Psychometrika

, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 405–425 | Cite as

Combining speed and accuracy to assess error-free cognitive processes

  • Mark E. GlickmanEmail author
  • Jeremy R. Gray
  • Carlos J. Morales
Article

Abstract

Both the speed and accuracy of responding are important measures of performance. A well-known interpretive difficulty is that participants may differ in their strategy, trading speed for accuracy, with no change in underlying competence. Another difficulty arises when participants respond slowly and inaccurately (rather than quickly but inaccurately), e.g., due to a lapse of attention. We introduce an approach that combines response time and accuracy information and addresses both situations. The modeling framework assumes two latent competing processes. The first, the error-free process, always produces correct responses. The second, the guessing process, results in all observed errors and some of the correct responses (but does so via non-specific processes, e.g., guessing in compliance with instructions to respond on each trial). Inferential summaries of the speed of the error-free process provide a principled assessment of cognitive performance reducing the influences of both fast and slow guesses. Likelihood analysis is discussed for the basic model and extensions. The approach is applied to a data set on response times in a working memory test.

Keywords

competing risks reaction times speed/accuracy tradeoff time-to-event model working memory tasks 

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Copyright information

© The Psychometric Society 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark E. Glickman
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Jeremy R. Gray
    • 2
  • Carlos J. Morales
    • 3
  1. 1.Boston University School of Public HealthUSA
  2. 2.Yale UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Worcester Polytechnic InstituteUSA
  4. 4.Center for Health Quality, Outcomes & Economics ResearchEdith Nourse Rogers Memorial Hospital (152)BedfordUSA

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