The fixed-point property for competing strategies
When multiple strategies can be used to solve a type of problem, the observed response time distributions are often mixtures of multiple underlying base distributions each representing one of these strategies. For the case of two possible strategies, the observed response time distributions obey the fixed-point property. That is, there exists one reaction time that has the same probability of being observed irrespective of the actual mixture proportion of each strategy. In this paper we discuss how to compute this fixed-point, and how to statistically assess the probability that indeed the observed response times are generated by two competing strategies. Accompanying this paper is a free R package that can be used to compute and test the presence or absence of the fixed-point property in response time data, allowing for easy to use tests of strategic behavior.
The fp package
The online appendix with a worked out example
The paperHow to assess the existence of competing strategies in cognitive tasks: A primer on the fixed-point property.
Publications involving the fp package:
Grange, J.A. (2016). Temporal distinctiveness in task switching: Assessing the mixture-distribution assumption. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 251
Van Maanen, L., Couto, J., & Lebreton, M. (submitted). Three boundary conditions for computing the fixed-point property in binary mixture data.
Van Maanen, L. (2016). Is there evidence for a mixture of processes in speed-accuracy trade-off behavior? Topics in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 279-290
Van Maanen, L. (2015). Speed-accuracy trade-off behavior: Response caution adjustment or mixing task strategies? Proceedings of the 13th International Conference for Cognitive Modeling
Van Maanen, L., De Jong, R. & Van Rijn. H. (2014). How to assess the existence of competing strategies in cognitive tasks: A primer on the fixed-point property. PLOS One, 9, e106113.