, Volume 80, Issue 2, pp 491–513 | Cite as

The Lognormal Race: A Cognitive-Process Model of Choice and Latency with Desirable Psychometric Properties

  • Jeffrey N. Rouder
  • Jordan M. Province
  • Richard D. Morey
  • Pablo Gomez
  • Andrew Heathcote


We present a cognitive process model of response choice and response time performance data that has excellent psychometric properties and may be used in a wide variety of contexts. In the model there is an accumulator associated with each response option. These accumulators have bounds, and the first accumulator to reach its bound determines the response time and response choice. The times at which accumulator reaches its bound is assumed to be lognormally distributed, hence the model is race or minima process among lognormal variables. A key property of the model is that it is relatively straightforward to place a wide variety of models on the logarithm of these finishing times including linear models, structural equation models, autoregressive models, growth-curve models, etc. Consequently, the model has excellent statistical and psychometric properties and can be used in a wide range of contexts, from laboratory experiments to high-stakes testing, to assess performance. We provide a Bayesian hierarchical analysis of the model, and illustrate its flexibility with an application in testing and one in lexical decision making, a reading skill.

Key words

cognitive psychometrics response-times models race models 



This research is supported by National Science Foundation Grants SES-1024080 and BCS-1240359 (JNR) and Australian Research Council Professorial Fellowship (AH).


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Copyright information

© The Psychometric Society 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey N. Rouder
    • 1
  • Jordan M. Province
    • 1
  • Richard D. Morey
    • 2
  • Pablo Gomez
    • 3
  • Andrew Heathcote
    • 4
  1. 1.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.University of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlansa
  3. 3.Depaul UniversityChicagoUSA
  4. 4.University of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia

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