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04-04-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2020

Psychological Research 6/2020

Are model parameters linked to processing stages? An empirical investigation for the ex-Gaussian, ex-Wald, and EZ diffusion models

Psychological Research > Uitgave 6/2020
Tobias Rieger, Jeff Miller
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00426-019-01176-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Raw data are available via the Open Science Framework at https://​osf.​io/​a6ky8/​.

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In previous research, the parameters of the ex-Gaussian distribution have been subject to a wide variety of interpretations. The present study investigated whether the ex-Gaussian model is capable of distinguishing effects on separate processing stages (i.e., pre-motor vs. motor). In order to do so, we used datasets where the locus of effect was quite clear. Specifically, we analyzed data from experiments comparing hand vs. foot responses—presumably differing in the motor stage—and from experiments in which the lateralized readiness potential was used to localize experimental effects into premotor vs. motor processes. Moreover, we broadened the scope to two other descriptive RT models: the ex-Wald and EZ diffusion models. To the extent possible with each of these models, we reanalyzed the RT data of 19 clearly localized experimental effects from 12 separate experiments reported in seven previously published articles. Unfortunately, we did not find a clear pattern of results for any of the models, with no clear link between effects on one of the model’s parameters and effects on different processing stages. The present results suggest that one should resist the temptation to associate specific processing stages with individual parameters of the ex-Gaussian, ex-Wald, and EZ diffusion models.

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