Chen, Hale, and Myerson (2007) recently reported a test of the difference engine model (Myerson, Hale, Zheng, Jenkins, & Widaman, 2003). This test evaluated whether the standard deviation (SD) is proportional to the amount of processing - that is, mean reaction time (RT) - in a speeded cognitive task. We show that this evaluation is not a test of the model because its finding is a consequence of relationships in the data. We argue any model structure that produces increasing values of RT as a function of difficulty, with different slopes for different individuals, necessarily produces a correlation between SD and mean RT. We illustrate this with a different model structure - that is, the diffusion model proposed by Ratcliff (1978) - showing that it produces a fan out between fast- and slow-group means and produces the correlation between SD and mean RT that matches the empirical result.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)