Analyzing thresholds and efficiency with hierarchical Bayesian logistic regression☆

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Abstract

Ideal observer analysis is a fundamental tool used widely in vision science for analyzing the efficiency with which a cognitive or perceptual system uses available information. The performance of an ideal observer provides a formal measure of the amount of information in a given experiment. The ratio of human to ideal performance is then used to compute efficiency, a construct that can be directly compared across experimental conditions while controlling for the differences due to the stimuli and/or task specific demands. In previous research using ideal observer analysis, the effects of varying experimental conditions on efficiency have been tested using ANOVAs and pairwise comparisons. In this work, we present a model that combines Bayesian estimates of psychometric functions with hierarchical logistic regression for inference about both unadjusted human performance metrics and efficiencies. Our approach improves upon the existing methods by constraining the statistical analysis using a standard model connecting stimulus intensity to human observer accuracy and by accounting for variability in the estimates of human and ideal observer performance scores. This allows for both individual and group level inferences.

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