Is There Evidence for a Mixture of Processes in Speed-Accuracy Trade-Off Behavior?

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The speed-accuracy trade-off (SAT) effect refers to the behavioral trade-off between fast yet error-prone respones and accurate but slow responses. Multiple theories on the cognitive mechanisms behind SAT exist. One theory assumes that SAT is a consequence of strategically adjusting the amount of evidence required for overt behaviors, such as perceptual choices. Another theory hypothesizes that SAT is the consequence of the mixture of multiple categorically different cognitive processes. In this paper, these theories are disambiguated by assessing whether the fixed-point property of mixture distributions holds, in both simulations and data. I conclude that, at least for perceptual decision making, there is no evidence for a mixture of different cognitive processes to trade off accuracy of responding for speed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-90
Number of pages12
JournalTopics in Cognitive Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Choice Behavior/physiology
  • Cognition/physiology
  • Decision Making/physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Perception/physiology
  • Reaction Time


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