Psychophysical reverse correlation with multiple response alternatives

Huanping Dai, Christophe Micheyl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Psychophysical reverse-correlation methods such as the " classification image" technique provide a unique tool to uncover the internal representations and decision strategies of individual participants in perceptual tasks. Over the past 30 years, these techniques have gained increasing popularity among both visual and auditory psychophysicists. However, thus far, principled applications of the psychophysical reverse-correlation approach have been almost exclusively limited to two-alternative decision (detection or discrimination) tasks. Whether and how reverse-correlation methods can be applied to uncover perceptual templates and decision strategies in situations involving more than just two response alternatives remain largely unclear. Here, the authors consider the problem of estimating perceptual templates and decision strategies in stimulus identification tasks with multiple response alternatives. They describe a modified correlational approach, which can be used to solve this problem. The approach is evaluated under a variety of simulated conditions, including different ratios of internal-to-external noise, different degrees of correlations between the sensory observations, and various statistical distributions of stimulus perturbations. The results indicate that the proposed approach is reasonably robust, suggesting that it could be used in future empirical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)976-993
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Decision rules
  • Perceptual templates
  • Psychophysics
  • Reverse correlation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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