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Testing the race model in a difficult redundant signals task

Prof. Matthias Gondan
University of Innsbruck ~ Psychology
Dawa Dupont
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Steven Blurton
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

In the redundant signals task, participants respond, in the same way, to stimuli of several sources, which are presented either alone or in combination (redundant signals). The responses to the redundant signals are typically much faster than to the single signals. Several models explain this effect, including race and coactivation models of information processing. Race models assume separate channels for the two components of a redundant signal, with the response time determined by the faster of the two channels. Because the slower processing times in one channel are canceled out by faster processing in the other channel, responses to redundant signals are, on average, faster than to single signals. In contrast, coactivation models relate the redundancy gain to some kind of integrated processing of the redundant information. The two models can be distinguished using the race model inequality (Miller, 1982) on the response time distribution functions. Miller’s prediction was derived for experiments with 100% accuracy, and despite corrections for guesses and omitted responses, it is limited to easy tasks with negligible error rates. We generalize Miller’s inequality to non-trivial experimental tasks in which incorrect responses may occur systematically. The method is illustrated using data from difficult discrimination tasks with Go/Nogo and choice responses. More than 150 years after Donders’ (1868) first response time experiment, the present study shows that it is possible to run response time tasks at any difficulty—if the appropriate analysis technique is chosen.



Divided attention
Reaction time methods
Multisensory processing


Cognitive Modeling
Reaction Times
ACCURACY AND RTS Last updated 3 years ago

Hello Matthias, Dawa and Steven: First, let me compliment you on a highly innovative and intriguing study! Second, I do have a number of comments and queries, some related to your expanded treatment in your nice JMP paper. However, for brevity's sake, I will confine myself to a restricted sphere. In that spirit, I fear I must object to your cha...

James T. Townsend 3 comments
Incorrect RTs Last updated 3 years ago

Very interesting talk, thank you. I'm wondering how taking this approach might handle several types of cognitive processes that all behaviorally result in an incorrect resp ('0') but each has a unique RT distribution. The number of reasons one might make an incorrect resp increases when you go from a simple and speeded task to more difficult task ...

Dr. Elizabeth Fox 1 comment
Cite this as:

Gondan, M., Dupont, D., & Blurton, S. (2020, July). Testing the race model in a difficult redundant signals task. Paper presented at Virtual MathPsych/ICCM 2020. Via