Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 406–415 | Cite as

Modeling when people quit: Bayesian censored geometric models with hierarchical and latent-mixture extensions

  • Kensuke Okada
  • Joachim Vandekerckhove
  • Michael D. Lee


People often interact with environments that can provide only a finite number of items as resources. Eventually a book contains no more chapters, there are no more albums available from a band, and every Pokémon has been caught. When interacting with these sorts of environments, people either actively choose to quit collecting new items, or they are forced to quit when the items are exhausted. Modeling the distribution of how many items people collect before they quit involves untangling these two possibilities, We propose that censored geometric models are a useful basic technique for modeling the quitting distribution, and, show how, by implementing these models in a hierarchical and latent-mixture framework through Bayesian methods, they can be extended to capture the additional features of specific situations. We demonstrate this approach by developing and testing a series of models in two case studies involving real-world data. One case study deals with people choosing jokes from a recommender system, and the other deals with people completing items in a personality survey.


Modeling quitting Censored geometric distribution Search termination Hierarchical models Latent-mixture models Bayesian methods 



We thank David Condon for helpful information on the data collection method in the SAPA dataset. All of the JAGS code, the raw behavioral data, and other supplementary material, are available at a project page for this paper on the Open Science Framework at JV was supported by grants NSF#1534472, JTF#48192, and NSF#1230118.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kensuke Okada
    • 1
  • Joachim Vandekerckhove
    • 2
  • Michael D. Lee
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySenshu UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Cognitive SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

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