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Central tendency biases must be accounted for to consistently capture Bayesian cue combination in continuous response data

Aston, S, Negen, J and Nardini, M Central tendency biases must be accounted for to consistently capture Bayesian cue combination in continuous response data. Behavior Research Methods. ISSN 1554-351X (Accepted)

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Abstract

Observers in perceptual tasks are often reported to combine multiple sensory cues in a weighted average that improves precision – in some studies, approaching statistically-optimal (Bayesian) weighting, but in others departing from optimality, or not benefitting from combined cues at all. To correctly conclude which combination rules observers use, it is crucial to have accurate measures of their sensory precision and cue weighting. Here, we present a new approach for accurately recovering these parameters in perceptual tasks with continuous responses. Continuous responses have many advantages, but are susceptible to a central tendency bias, where responses are biased towards the central stimulus value. We show such biases lead to inaccuracies in estimating both precision gains and cue weightings, two key measures used to assess sensory cue combination. We introduce a method that estimates sensory precision by regressing continuous responses on targets and dividing the variance of the residuals by the squared slope of the regression line, “correcting-out” the error introduced by the central bias and increasing statistical power. We also suggest a complementary analysis that recovers the sensory cue weights. Using both simulations and empirical data, we show that the proposed methods can accurately estimate sensory precision and cue weightings in the presence of central tendency biases. We conclude that central tendency biases should be (and can easily be) accounted for to consistently capture Bayesian cue combination in continuous response data.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0801 Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing, 1701 Psychology, 1702 Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Psychology (new Sep 2019)
Publisher: Springer
Date Deposited: 27 May 2021 09:41
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2021 09:51
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15080

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