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Human Factors: Santee and Egeth 1982
Santee, J.L., & Egeth, H.E. (1982). Do reaction time and accuracy measure the same aspects of letter recognition? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 8, 489-501.PDF
Participants were shown two letters, then a cue. They were asked to identify what the cued letter was.

Comparing different conditions produced different rankings of which set of letters was easiest to identify depending on which measure (reaction time or accuracy) was used. In the data-limited condition, where the amount of time the participant saw the stimulus was limited (unfortunately, not completely replicable due to monitor refresh rate limitations), accuracy was measured. In the resource-limited condition, where the participants were instructed to respond as quickly as possible, reaction time was measured.

Reaction time and accuracy are often assumed to measure the same things, with reaction time being a finer-grained measure than accuracy. This study argues that they measure different processes and often produce slightly different results.

{Related Studies}
Bjork, E.L., & Murray, J.T. On the nature of input channels in visual processing. Psychological Review, 1977, 84, 472-484.

Crist, W.B. Matching performance and the similarity structure of the stimulus set. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 1981, 110, 269-296.

Egeth, H.E., & Santee, J.L. Conceptual and perceptual components of interletter inhibition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 1981, 7, 506-517.

Eriksen, B.A., & Eriksen, C.W. Effects of noise letters upon the identification of a target letter in a nonsearch task. Perception & Psychophysics, 1974, 16, 143-149.

Eriksen, C.W., & Eriksen, B.A. Visual backward masking as measured by voice reaction time. Perception & Psychophysics, 1972, 12, 5-8.

Eriksen, C.W., & Eriksen, B.A. Target redundancy in visual search: Do repetitions of the target within the display impair processing? Perception & Psychophysics, 1979, 26, 195-205.

Eriksen, C.W., & Hoffman, J.E. Temporal and spatial characteristics of selective encoding from visual displays. Perception & Psychophysics, 1972, 12, 201-204.

Eriksen, C.W., & Schultz, D.W. Temporal factors in visual information processing: A tutorial review. In J. Requin (Ed.), Attention and Performance VII. New York: Academic Press, 1978.

Eriksen, C.W., & Schultz, D.W. Information processing in visual search: A continuous flow conception and experimental results. Perception & Psychophysics, 1979, 25, 249-263.

Estes, W.K. Interactions of signal and background variables in visual processing. Perception & Psychophysics, 1972, 12, 278-286.

Estes, W.K. Redundancy of noise elements and signals in visual detection of letters. Perception & Psychophysics, 1974, 16, 53-60.

Estes, W.K. Similarity-related channel interactions in visual processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 1982, 8, 353-382.

Garner, W.R. The stimulus in information processing. American Psychologist, 1970, 25, 350-358.

Hubel, D.H., & Wiesel, T.N. Receptive fields, binocular interaction and functional architecture in the cat's visual cortex. Journal of Physiology, 1962, 160, 106-154.

Hubel, D.H., & Wiesel, T.N. Receptive fields and functional architecture in two nonstriate visual areas (18 and 19) of the cat. Journal of Neurophysiology, 1965, 28, 229-289.

Keppel, G. Design and analysis: A researcher's handbook. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Erlbaum, 1978.

Lappin, J.S. The relativity of choice behavior and the effect of prior knowledge on the speed and accuracy of recognition. In N.J. Castellan & F. Restle (Eds.), Cogntive theory (Vol. 3). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1978.

Norman, D.A, & Bobrow, D.G. On data-limited and resource-limited processes. Cognitive Psychology, 1975, 7, 44-64.

Pachella, R.G., Smith, J.E.K., Stanovich, K.E. Qualitative error analysis and speeded classification. In N.J. Castellan & F. Restle (Eds.), Cognitive theory (Vol. 3). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1978.

Pomerantz, J.R., Sager, L.C., & Stoever, R.J. Perception of wholes and of their component parts: Some configural superiority effects. Journal of Experimetnal Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 1977, 3, 422-435.

Santee, J.L., & Egeth, H.E. Interference in letter identification: A test of feature-specific inhibition. Perception & Psychophysics, 1980, 27, 321-330.

Santee, J.L., & Egeth, H.E. Independence versus interference in the perceptual processing of letters. Perception & Psychophysics, 1982, 31, 101-116.

Smith, E.E., & Spoehr, K.T. The perception of printed English: A theoretical perspecitve. In B.H. Kantowitz (Ed.), Human information processing: Tutorials in perception and cognition. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1974.

Stanovich, K.E. Studies of letter identification using qualitative error analysis: Effects of speed stress, tachisoscopic presentation, and word context. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 1979, 5, 713-733.

Taylor, D.A. Time course of context effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 1977, 106, 404-426.

Townsend, J.T. Theoretical analysis of an alphabetic confusion matrix. Perception & Psychophysics, 1971, 9, 40-50.

White, M.J. Feature-specific border effects in the discrimination of letter-like forms. Perception & Psychophysics, 1981, 29, 156-162.

Winer, B.J. Statistical principles in experimental design. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962.

{Cited By}
Two experiments indicate that reaction time and accuracy are not always equivalent measures of the underlying processes involved in the recognition of visually presented letters. In conjunction with the results of previous work, our research suggests that following generalizations: (a) Under data-limited viewing conditions (the short exposure durations of the typical tachistoscopic task), response accuracy is sensitive to early perceptual interference between target and noise items, whereas reaction time is more sensitive to later processes involved in response interference. (b) Under resource-limited viewing conditions (the long exposure durations of the typical reaction time task), both accuracy and reaction time appear to be sensitive to processes occurring in the later rather than the earlier stages of processing. Since the two dependent measures do not always reflect the same perceptual processes, we suggest that the convergence of reaction time and accuracy within the context of a specific information processing model should be demonstrated empirically rather than assumed a priori.
{Works Cited}
{Data Instructions}


Brian MacWhinney