Theoretical vs. empirical discriminability: the application of ROC methods to eyewitness identification

Theoretical vs. empirical discriminability: the application of ROC methods to eyewitness... Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was introduced to the field of eyewitness identification 5 years ago. Since that time, it has been both influential and controversial, and the debate has raised an issue about measuring discriminability that is rarely considered. The issue concerns the distinction between empirical discriminability (measured by area under the ROC curve) vs. underlying/theoretical discriminability (measured by d’ or variants of it). Under most circumstances, the two measures will agree about a difference between two conditions in terms of discriminability. However, it is possible for them to disagree, and that fact can lead to confusion about which condition actually yields higher discriminability. For example, if the two conditions have implications for real-world practice (e.g., a comparison of competing lineup formats), should a policymaker rely on the area-under-the-curve measure or the theory-based measure? Here, we illustrate the fact that a given empirical ROC yields as many underlying discriminability measures as there are theories that one is willing to take seriously. No matter which theory is correct, for practical purposes, the singular area-under-the-curve measure best identifies the diagnostically superior procedure. For that reason, area under the ROC curve informs policy in a way that underlying theoretical discriminability never http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications Springer Journals

Theoretical vs. empirical discriminability: the application of ROC methods to eyewitness identification

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Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by The Author(s)
Subject
Psychology; Cognitive Psychology; Experimental Psychology; Neurosciences
eISSN
2365-7464
D.O.I.
10.1186/s41235-018-0093-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was introduced to the field of eyewitness identification 5 years ago. Since that time, it has been both influential and controversial, and the debate has raised an issue about measuring discriminability that is rarely considered. The issue concerns the distinction between empirical discriminability (measured by area under the ROC curve) vs. underlying/theoretical discriminability (measured by d’ or variants of it). Under most circumstances, the two measures will agree about a difference between two conditions in terms of discriminability. However, it is possible for them to disagree, and that fact can lead to confusion about which condition actually yields higher discriminability. For example, if the two conditions have implications for real-world practice (e.g., a comparison of competing lineup formats), should a policymaker rely on the area-under-the-curve measure or the theory-based measure? Here, we illustrate the fact that a given empirical ROC yields as many underlying discriminability measures as there are theories that one is willing to take seriously. No matter which theory is correct, for practical purposes, the singular area-under-the-curve measure best identifies the diagnostically superior procedure. For that reason, area under the ROC curve informs policy in a way that underlying theoretical discriminability never

Journal

Cognitive Research: Principles and ImplicationsSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 14, 2018

References

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