Dissociations between reaction times and temporal order judgments: a diffusion model approach

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2006 Apr;32(2):394-412. doi: 10.1037/0096-1523.32.2.394.


A diffusion model for simple reaction time (RT) and temporal order judgment (TOJ) tasks was developed to account for a commonly observed dissociation between these 2 tasks: Most stimulus manipulations (e.g., intensity) have larger effects in RT tasks than in TOJ tasks. The model assumes that a detection criterion determines the level of sensory evidence needed to conclude that a stimulus has been presented. Analysis of the performance that would be achieved with different possible criterion settings revealed that performance was optimal with a lower criterion setting for the TOJ task than for the RT task. In addition, the model predicts that effects of stimulus manipulations should increase with the size of the detection criterion. Thus, the model suggests that commonly observed dissociations between RT and TOJ tasks may simply be due to performance optimization in the face of conflicting task demands.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Computer Simulation
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Humans
  • Judgment*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Reaction Time*
  • Time Factors
  • Time Perception*