Recognition memory models and binary-response ROCs: A comparison by minimum description length

David Kellen, Karl Christoph Klauer, Arndt Bröder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Model comparison in recognition memory has frequently relied on receiver operating characteristics (ROC) data. We present a meta-analysis of binary-response ROC data that builds on previous such meta-analyses and extends them in several ways. Specifically, we include more data and consider a much more comprehensive set of candidate models. Moreover, we bring to bear modern developments in model selection on the current selection problem. The new methods are based on the minimum description length framework, leading to the normalized maximum likelihood (NML) index for assessing model performance, taking into account differences between the models in flexibility due to functional form. Overall, NML results for individual ROC data indicate a preference for a discrete-state model that assumes a mixture of detection and guessing states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-719
Number of pages27
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Discrete-state models
  • Hybrid models
  • Minimum description length
  • Model selection
  • Normalized maximum likelihood
  • Recognition memory
  • Signal detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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