Document Detail

Correcting for false alarms in a simple reaction time task.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17027935     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Simple reaction times (RTs) constitute an important source of information and tool in human and animal psychophysics, in cognitive neuroscience, and in the clinic. We measure simple RTs to auditory stimuli, in a high signal rate vigilance design, to examine the possibility that simple RT may be used as a tool to study mechanisms of temporal summation at absolute threshold. By means of catch trials, we monitor the subjects' tendencies to produce false alarms, that is reactions not controlled by the reaction stimulus. Here we examine the possibility that a model of a race between a stimulus-controlled reaction process and a false alarm process can account for the numbers as well as for the timing of early and late RTs on stimulus trials in our experiments. We show that the responses in both tails of our empirical RT distributions on stimulus trials are indeed correctly predicted by the race model and can be considered false alarms. This suggests that the race model might also provide a reasonable description of the way in which false alarms and stimulus-controlled reactions combine when they overlap in time. We examine the magnitudes of the estimated effects of false alarms on several parameters of the RT distributions by application of the race model. The analyses reveal that the effects not only vary with false alarm rate but also with stimulus parameters. Our data suggest that the race model may provide a theoretically reasonable and easy means of correcting for false alarms in simple RT paradigms and thus may constitute a useful alternative to the common practice of truncation.
Andreas Tiefenau; Heinrich Neubauer; Hellmut von Specht; Peter Heil
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2006-10-09
Journal Detail:
Title:  Brain research     Volume:  1122     ISSN:  0006-8993     ISO Abbreviation:  Brain Res.     Publication Date:  2006 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-11-13     Completed Date:  2007-01-30     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0045503     Medline TA:  Brain Res     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  99-115     Citation Subset:  IM    
Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Brenneckestr. 6, D-39118 Magdeburg, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Field Dependence-Independence
Models, Neurological*
Photic Stimulation
Reaction Time / physiology*
Signal Detection, Psychological / physiology*

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