Instructor’s Guide: Signal Detection Theory

The SDT tutorial is designed to be used on its own, though students will profit from classroom instruction and demonstrations.

The SDT tutorial assumes that students have familiarity with basic statistics such as means, standard deviation, and the normal distribution. Familiarity with hypothesis testing is helpful but not essential. The SDT tutorial includes optional links to brief reviews of z-scores and normal distributions as well as other WISE tutorials on basic statistics concepts.

Suggestions for Using the SDT Tutorial

1. Live Demonstration

As part of either a lecture or guided lab assignment, instructors may use the WISE SDT Applet by itself to demonstrate different aspects of signal detection theory and applications. Instructors may choose to step through parts or the entire tutorial in a demonstration mode. This demonstration may serve as a stimulus for classroom discussion and/or introduction to an assignment for students.

Instructors may interact with the applet to demonstrate the relationships between conventional ROC graphs and features of the decision-making scenario, showing how hit rates and false alarm rates depend on signal strength and response bias.

Go to SDT Applet

2. Post-lecture/Lab Assignment

The WISE Signal Detection Tutorial may be used to reinforce and explore concepts introduced by the instructor during lecture, either as a guided lab exercise or as a homework assignment to be completed independently. Although answers are provided to selected exercise questions, students need to draw their own conclusions to questions that are posed throughout the exercise and at the end of the tutorial.

For z-probability calculations, students may use either a table for the standardized normal distribution (z) or the WISE pz converter. Java and JavaScript must be enabled on students’ browsers to use many features of the signal detection tutorial. Most students complete the tutorial in less than 45 minutes.

Go to P-Z Converter

3. Review

For students already familiar with signal detection concepts, the tutorial may be recommended as a supplemental review.

Additional review of major concepts concerning hypothesis testing and the normal distribution is supported by links to other WISE instructional material.

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