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      The speed-accuracy tradeoff: history, physiology, methodology, and behavior

      Frontiers in Neuroscience

      Frontiers Media S.A.

      speed-accuracy tradeoff, decision-making

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          There are few behavioral effects as ubiquitous as the speed-accuracy tradeoff (SAT). From insects to rodents to primates, the tendency for decision speed to covary with decision accuracy seems an inescapable property of choice behavior. Recently, the SAT has received renewed interest, as neuroscience approaches begin to uncover its neural underpinnings and computational models are compelled to incorporate it as a necessary benchmark. The present work provides a comprehensive overview of SAT. First, I trace its history as a tractable behavioral phenomenon and the role it has played in shaping mathematical descriptions of the decision process. Second, I present a “users guide” of SAT methodology, including a critical review of common experimental manipulations and analysis techniques and a treatment of the typical behavioral patterns that emerge when SAT is manipulated directly. Finally, I review applications of this methodology in several domains.

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          Effects of noise letters upon the identification of a target letter in a nonsearch task

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            The neural basis of decision making.

            The study of decision making spans such varied fields as neuroscience, psychology, economics, statistics, political science, and computer science. Despite this diversity of applications, most decisions share common elements including deliberation and commitment. Here we evaluate recent progress in understanding how these basic elements of decision formation are implemented in the brain. We focus on simple decisions that can be studied in the laboratory but emphasize general principles likely to extend to other settings.
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              What we can do and what we cannot do with fMRI.

              Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is currently the mainstay of neuroimaging in cognitive neuroscience. Advances in scanner technology, image acquisition protocols, experimental design, and analysis methods promise to push forward fMRI from mere cartography to the true study of brain organization. However, fundamental questions concerning the interpretation of fMRI data abound, as the conclusions drawn often ignore the actual limitations of the methodology. Here I give an overview of the current state of fMRI, and draw on neuroimaging and physiological data to present the current understanding of the haemodynamic signals and the constraints they impose on neuroimaging data interpretation.

                Author and article information

                Front Neurosci
                Front Neurosci
                Front. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                11 June 2014
                : 8
                Department of Psychology, Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience, Vanderbilt Vision Research Center, Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN, USA
                Author notes

                Edited by: Patrick Simen, Oberlin College, USA

                Reviewed by: Milica Mormann, University of Miami, USA; Long Ding, University of Pennsylvania, USA

                *Correspondence: Richard P. Heitz, Department of Psychology, Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience, Vanderbilt Vision Research Center, Vanderbilt University, 301 Wilson Hall, 111 21st Ave. South, TN 37240-781, Nashville, USA e-mail: richard.p.heitz@

                This article was submitted to Decision Neuroscience, a section of the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

                Copyright © 2014 Heitz.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Figures: 6, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 211, Pages: 19, Words: 17618
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                decision-making, speed-accuracy tradeoff


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