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Percept Psychophys. 2001 Nov;63(8):1399-420.

On the analysis of psychometric functions: the Spearman-Kärber method.

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Department of Psychology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.


With computer simulations, we examined the performance of the Spearman-Kärber method for analyzing psychometric functions and compared this method with the standard technique of probit analysis. The Spearman-Kärber method was found to be superior in most cases. It generally yielded less biased and less variable estimates of the location and dispersion of a psychometric function, and it provided more power to detect differences in these parameters across experimental conditions. Moreover, the Spearman-Kärber method provided information about the skewness and higher moments of psychometric functions that is beyond the scope of probit analysis. These advantages of the Spearman-Kärber method suggest that it should often be used in preference to probit analysis for the analysis of observed psychometric functions.

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