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Percept Psychophys. 2004 Apr;66(3):517-33.

Threshold estimation in two-alternative forced-choice (2AFC) tasks: the Spearman-Kärber method.

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Universität Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.


The Spearman-Kärber method can be used to estimate the threshold value or difference limen in two-alternative forced-choice tasks. This method yields a simple estimator for the difference limen and its standard error, so that both can be calculated with a pocket calculator. In contrast to previous estimators, the present approach does not require any assumptions about the shape of the true underlying psychometric function. The performance of this new nonparametric estimator is compared with the standard technique of probit analysis. The Spearman-Kärber method appears to be a valuable addition to the toolbox of psychophysical methods, because it is most accurate for estimating the mean (i.e., absolute and difference thresholds) and dispersion of the psychometric function, although it is not optimal for estimating percentile-based parameters of this function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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