This is a part of a series of blog posts discussing Bayesian estimation of Signal Detection models. In this post, I describe how to estimate the equal variance Gaussian SDT model’s parameters for multiple participants simultaneously, using Bayesian generalized linear and nonlinear hierarchical models. I provide a software implementation in R.

Signal Detection Theory (SDT) is a common framework for modeling memory and perception. Calculating point estimates of equal variance Gaussian SDT parameters is easy using widely known formulas. More complex SDT models, such as the unequal variance SDT model, require more complicated modeling techniques. These models can be estimated using Bayesian (nonlinear and/or hierarchical) regression methods, which are sometimes difficult to implement in practice. In this post, I describe how to estimate the equal variance Gaussian SDT model’s parameters for a single participant with a Generalized Linear Model, and a nonlinear model. I describe the software implementation in R.

Don’t set R’s working directory from an R script.

Exploring SIPS Tweets with R.

Assessing the correlations between psychological variabless, such as abilities and improvements, is one essential goal of psychological science. However, psychological variables are usually only available to the researcher as estimated parameters in mathematical and statistical models. The parameters are often estimated from small samples of observations for each research participant, which results in uncertainty (aka sampling error) about the participant-specific parameters. Ignoring the resulting uncertainty can lead to suboptimal inferences, such as asserting findings with too much confidence. Hierarchical models alleviate this problem by accounting for each parameter’s uncertainty at the person- and average levels. However, common maximum likelihood estimation methods can have difficulties converging and finding appropriate values for parameters that describe the person-level parameters’ spread and correlation. In this post, I discuss how Bayesian hierarchical models solve this problem, and advocate their use in estimating psychological variables and their correlations.

You should probably use ‘joy plots’ to visualize varying effects’ posteriors, because they look great.