Influence of sensitivity on response bias in taste and audition
ABSTRACT A detection theoretic analysis was employed to examine sensitivity and response bias in two modalities. In Experiment 1, 6
tasters made same-different judgments about the concentration of either sucrose or quinine in pairs of tonic water samples.
The beverages were colored, but color was not predictive of the concentration of the sweet or bitter ingredient. When same-different
ratings were collapsed to approximate the outcome of a categorical decision, tasters with poorer sensitivity appear to have
adopted more extreme response criteria than did tasters with greater sensitivity, irrespective of taste quality, color, or
whether pairs of solutions comprised the same or different colors. In Experiment 2, 3 individuals discriminated pairs of 1000-Hz
sinusoids differing in amplitude. Six amplitude differences were tested. Rating-scale versions of two paradigms: The single-interval
yes-no task and the two-interval same-different task were used to measure sensitivity and bias. There was a preponderance
of “same” responses in the same-different task. Estimates of bias obtained from collapsed ratings in both tasks were unaffected
by sensitivity, but a consideration of the range over which sets of criteria were spread suggested a general tendency toward
more conservative response biases as sensitivity declined.