Tutorial: Signal Detection Theory

Your goals for this tutorial are:

Every day we have to make decisions about uncertain events like, ‘Is that my phone ringing or one on the television?’, or, ‘Is the person talking to me telling the truth?’ In this tutorial, you will learn about the Signal Detection Theory (SDT) model of how people make decisions about uncertain events. This tutorial explains the theory behind signal detection, covers several SDT measures of performance, and introduces Receiver-Operating Characteristics (ROCs). The tutorial is at an introductory level, but also has optional sections appropriate for more advanced students and researchers.

What do I need to know? This introductory tutorial builds upon other WISE tutorials. Our hypothesis testing tutorial is particularly appropriate, and it is also helpful to be comfortable working with z-scores.  A review will be provided within the tutorial.

What do I need? For certain calculations, you may use either your own table for the standardized normal distribution (z) or the WISE pz converter provided by this tutorial. Java and JavaScript must be enabled on your browser.

Answers to questions: You will be asked to answer questions along the way. Approximate answers and hints are provided so you can check your work. Detailed solutions are available, but you should try to answer the questions on your own before consulting the detailed solutions. You will learn much more by doing the exercise questions yourself than if you merely read them and the answers.

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