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Category discriminability, base-rate, and payoff effects in perceptual categorization

, : Category discriminability, base-rate, and payoff effects in perceptual categorization. Perception & Psychophysics 63(2): 361-376

The optimality of perceptual categorization performance under manipulations of category discriminability (i.e., d' level), base rates, and payoffs was examined. Base-rate and payoff manipulations across two category discriminabilities allowed a test of the hypothesis that the steepness of the objective reward function affects performance (i.e., the flat-maxima hypothesis), as well as the hypothesis that observers combine base-rate and payoff information independently. Performance was (1) closer to optimal for the steeper objective reward function, in line with the flat-maxima hypothesis, (2) closer to optimal in base-rate conditions than in payoff conditions, and (3) in partial support of the hypothesis that base-rate and payoff knowledge is combined independently. Implications for current theories of base-rate and payoff learning are discussed.


PMID: 11281110

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