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Psychon Bull Rev. 2003 Dec;10(4):843-76.

Type 2 tasks in the theory of signal detectability: discrimination between correct and incorrect decisions.

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


It has been known for over 40 years that there are two fundamentally different kinds of detection tasks in the theory of signal detectability. The Type 1 task is to distinguish between events defined independently of the observer; the Type 2 task is to distinguish between one's own correct and incorrect decisions about those Type 1 events. For the Type 1 task, the behavior of the detector can be summarized by the traditional receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. This curve can be compared with a theoretical ROC curve, which can be generated from overlapping probability functions conditional on the Type 1 events on an appropriate decision axis. We show how to derive the probability functions underlying Type 2 decisions from those for the Type 1 task. ROC curves and the usual measures of performance are readily obtained from those Type 2 functions, and some relationships among various Type 1 and Type 2 performance measures are presented. We discuss the relationship between Type 1 and Type 2 confidence ratings and caution against the practice of presenting transformed Type 2 ratings as empirical Type 1 ratings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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