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Varadharajan Jayakumar, Trefford L. Simpson; Detectability and Bias Indices of Pneumatic Corneal Stimuli Using Signal Detection Theory. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(12):17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.12.17.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To evaluate the feasibility of using signal detection theory (SDT) in estimating criterion and detectability indices for corneal pneumatic stimuli and test corneal psychophysical data against linking hypotheses from nonprimate physiology using Bayesian analysis.
Corneal pneumatic stimuli were delivered using the Waterloo Belmonte esthesiometer. Corneal thresholds were estimated in 30 asymptomatic participants and 1.5× threshold stimuli were used as signals (with 0.4 probability). There were 100-trial mechanical and cold stimulus experiments and 50-trial chemical experiments. Trials were demarcated auditorily and “yes” or “no” recorded after each trial. Cold stimulus experiments were conducted with 0.6 signal probability. Criterion (c), likelihood ratio (lnβ), and d′ were calculated from the yes-no responses.
Average d′ was 0.59 ± 0.1, 1.65 ± 0.37, and 1.14 ± 0.3 units for cold, mechanical, and chemical stimuli, respectively. Bayes factors obtained using Bayesian analysis of variance mildly favored (BF10 = 1.55) differences between d′s of the stimulus types, with no support for differences in criteria between stimulus types. Multiple comparisons of d′ supported linking hypotheses based on nociception and nerve conductance theories.
Our experiments are the first to demonstrate the feasibility of estimating SDT indices and test different hypotheses. The conservative strategy (reporting “no” more often) chosen by participants was anticipated due to relatively large proportion of catch trials.
SDT when using pneumatic esthesiometry is vital to evaluate bias in responses of participants. Considering the varied forms of inherent noise in the corneal sensory system, SDT is critical to understand the sensory and decisional characteristics.
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