Psychophysical measurements in children:challenges, pitfalls, and considerations


Measuring sensory sensitivity is important in studying development and developmental disorders. However, with children, there is a need to balance reliable but lengthy sensory tasks with the child's ability to maintain motivation and vigilance. We used simulations to explore the problems associated with shortening adaptive psychophysical procedures, and suggest how these problems might be addressed. We quantify how adaptive procedures with too few reversals can over-estimate thresholds, introduce substantial measurement error, and make estimates of individual thresholds less reliable. The associated measurement error also obscures group differences. Adaptive procedures with children should therefore use as many reversals as possible, to reduce the effects of both Type 1 and Type 2 errors. Differences in response consistency, resulting from lapses in attention, further increase the over-estimation of threshold. Comparisons between data from individuals who may differ in lapse rate are therefore problematic, but measures to estimate and account for lapse rates in analyses may mitigate this problem.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Vision, Hearing and Language
College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Institute of Health & Neurodevelopment (AIHN)
Additional Information: Copyright 2017 Witton et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0
Uncontrolled Keywords: adaptive procedures,auditory,children,developmental disorders,dyslexia,psychophysics,sensory systems,staircase,vision,Neuroscience(all),Medicine(all),Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all),Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
Publication ISSN: 2167-8359
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2024 07:13
Date Deposited: 30 May 2017 12:55
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2017-05-11
Accepted Date: 2017-03-26
Submitted Date: 2016-12-07
Authors: Witton, Caroline (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-5610-4234)
Talcott, Joel B. (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-7958-8369)
Henning, G. Bruce



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

| Preview

Export / Share Citation


Additional statistics for this record