A ballistic model of choice response time

Psychol Rev. 2005 Jan;112(1):117-28. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.112.1.117.


Almost all models of response time (RT) use a stochastic accumulation process. To account for the benchmark RT phenomena, researchers have found it necessary to include between-trial variability in the starting point and/or the rate of accumulation, both in linear (R. Ratcliff & J. N. Rouder, 1998) and nonlinear (M. Usher & J. L. McClelland, 2001) models. The authors show that a ballistic (deterministic within-trial) model using a simplified version of M. Usher and J. L. McClelland's (2001) nonlinear accumulation process with between-trial variability in accumulation rate and starting point is capable of accounting for the benchmark behavioral phenomena. The authors successfully fit their model to R. Ratcliff and J. N. Rouder's (1998) data, which exhibit many of the benchmark phenomena.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Choice Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Reaction Time*
  • Stochastic Processes