SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 2.1: Bartoshuk, L. M., Fast, K., & Snyder, D. J. (2005). Differences in our sensory worlds: Invalid comparisons with labeled scales. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 122-125. doi:10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00346.x

Abstract: People use intensity descriptors to compare sensory differences: “This tastes strong to me; is it strong to you?” These comparisons are deceptive because they assume that intensity descriptors like strong denote the same absolute perceived intensities to everyone. This assumption is false. Visual-analogue and category scales are labeled with intensity descriptors, and whenever there are systematic differences across groups in the absolute perceived intensity denoted by these descriptors, across-group comparisons will be invalid. We have explored this problem using studies of taste perception. When intensity descriptors are falsely assumed to have universal meaning, real differences can be blunted, abolished, or reversed. One solution to this problem is to express sensations of interest relative to an unrelated standard; any variation in this standard will be equivalent across groups, allowing valid group comparisons. The importance of detecting and correcting these measurement errors is not limited to sensory comparisons, but applies to hedonic comparisons as well.

Journal Article 2.2: Craig, J. C., & Johnson, K. O. (2000). The two-point threshold: Not a measure of tactile spatial resolution. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 9, 29-32. doi:10.1111/1467-8721.00054

Abstract: The two-point threshold, or compass test, has long been used as a measure of tactile spatial resolution; however, since it was first developed, there have been problems associated with its use. Some of these problems include setting an appropriate criterion for responding “two,” extreme variability both within and between subjects, and the ability of subjects to discriminate two points from one at separations well below the two-point threshold. Recent neurophysiological results have clarified some of the neural mechanisms responsible for spatial resolution and demonstrated the inadequacy of the two-point threshold as a measure of spatial mechanisms. Several new methods may overcome these problems and provide a valid measure of spatial resolution and a reflection of neural mechanisms.

Journal Article 2.3: Lynn, S. K., & Barrett, L. F. (2014). “Utilizing” signal detection theory. Psychological Science, 25, 1663-1673. doi:10.1177/0956797614541991

Abstract: What do inferring what a person is thinking or feeling, judging a defendant’s guilt, and navigating a dimly lit room have in common? They involve perceptual uncertainty (e.g., a scowling face might indicate anger or concentration, for which different responses are appropriate) and behavioral risk (e.g., a cost to making the wrong response). Signal detection theory describes these types of decisions. In this tutorial, we show how incorporating the economic concept of utility allows signal detection theory to serve as a model of optimal decision making, going beyond its common use as an analytic method. This utility approach to signal detection theory clarifies otherwise enigmatic influences of perceptual uncertainty on measures of decision-making performance (accuracy and optimality) and on behavior (an inverse relationship between bias magnitude and sensitivity optimizes utility). A “utilized” signal detection theory offers the possibility of expanding the phenomena that can be understood within a decision-making framework.