Psychophysical measurements in children: challenges, pitfalls, and considerations

Caroline Witton*, Joel B. Talcott, G. Bruce Henning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Measuring sensory sensitivity is important in studying development and developmental disorders. However, with children, there is a need to balance reliable but lengthy sensory tasks with the child's ability to maintain motivation and vigilance. We used simulations to explore the problems associated with shortening adaptive psychophysical procedures, and suggest how these problems might be addressed. We quantify how adaptive procedures with too few reversals can over-estimate thresholds, introduce substantial measurement error, and make estimates of individual thresholds less reliable. The associated measurement error also obscures group differences. Adaptive procedures with children should therefore use as many reversals as possible, to reduce the effects of both Type 1 and Type 2 errors. Differences in response consistency, resulting from lapses in attention, further increase the over-estimation of threshold. Comparisons between data from individuals who may differ in lapse rate are therefore problematic, but measures to estimate and account for lapse rates in analyses may mitigate this problem.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3231
Number of pages22
JournalPeerJ
Volume2017
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2017

Fingerprint

Measurement errors
shortenings

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2017 Witton et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0

Keywords

  • adaptive procedures
  • auditory
  • children
  • developmental disorders
  • dyslexia
  • psychophysics
  • sensory systems
  • staircase
  • vision

Cite this

@article{d325a8a5a8374bb0b42c373d3f780cd2,
title = "Psychophysical measurements in children: challenges, pitfalls, and considerations",
abstract = "Measuring sensory sensitivity is important in studying development and developmental disorders. However, with children, there is a need to balance reliable but lengthy sensory tasks with the child's ability to maintain motivation and vigilance. We used simulations to explore the problems associated with shortening adaptive psychophysical procedures, and suggest how these problems might be addressed. We quantify how adaptive procedures with too few reversals can over-estimate thresholds, introduce substantial measurement error, and make estimates of individual thresholds less reliable. The associated measurement error also obscures group differences. Adaptive procedures with children should therefore use as many reversals as possible, to reduce the effects of both Type 1 and Type 2 errors. Differences in response consistency, resulting from lapses in attention, further increase the over-estimation of threshold. Comparisons between data from individuals who may differ in lapse rate are therefore problematic, but measures to estimate and account for lapse rates in analyses may mitigate this problem.",
keywords = "adaptive procedures, auditory, children, developmental disorders, dyslexia, psychophysics, sensory systems, staircase, vision",
author = "Caroline Witton and Talcott, {Joel B.} and Henning, {G. Bruce}",
note = "Copyright 2017 Witton et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0",
year = "2017",
month = "5",
day = "11",
doi = "10.7717/peerj.3231",
language = "English",
volume = "2017",
journal = "PeerJ",
issn = "2167-8359",
publisher = "PeerJ",
number = "5",

}

Psychophysical measurements in children : challenges, pitfalls, and considerations. / Witton, Caroline; Talcott, Joel B.; Henning, G. Bruce.

In: PeerJ, Vol. 2017, No. 5, e3231, 11.05.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Psychophysical measurements in children

T2 - challenges, pitfalls, and considerations

AU - Witton, Caroline

AU - Talcott, Joel B.

AU - Henning, G. Bruce

N1 - Copyright 2017 Witton et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0

PY - 2017/5/11

Y1 - 2017/5/11

N2 - Measuring sensory sensitivity is important in studying development and developmental disorders. However, with children, there is a need to balance reliable but lengthy sensory tasks with the child's ability to maintain motivation and vigilance. We used simulations to explore the problems associated with shortening adaptive psychophysical procedures, and suggest how these problems might be addressed. We quantify how adaptive procedures with too few reversals can over-estimate thresholds, introduce substantial measurement error, and make estimates of individual thresholds less reliable. The associated measurement error also obscures group differences. Adaptive procedures with children should therefore use as many reversals as possible, to reduce the effects of both Type 1 and Type 2 errors. Differences in response consistency, resulting from lapses in attention, further increase the over-estimation of threshold. Comparisons between data from individuals who may differ in lapse rate are therefore problematic, but measures to estimate and account for lapse rates in analyses may mitigate this problem.

AB - Measuring sensory sensitivity is important in studying development and developmental disorders. However, with children, there is a need to balance reliable but lengthy sensory tasks with the child's ability to maintain motivation and vigilance. We used simulations to explore the problems associated with shortening adaptive psychophysical procedures, and suggest how these problems might be addressed. We quantify how adaptive procedures with too few reversals can over-estimate thresholds, introduce substantial measurement error, and make estimates of individual thresholds less reliable. The associated measurement error also obscures group differences. Adaptive procedures with children should therefore use as many reversals as possible, to reduce the effects of both Type 1 and Type 2 errors. Differences in response consistency, resulting from lapses in attention, further increase the over-estimation of threshold. Comparisons between data from individuals who may differ in lapse rate are therefore problematic, but measures to estimate and account for lapse rates in analyses may mitigate this problem.

KW - adaptive procedures

KW - auditory

KW - children

KW - developmental disorders

KW - dyslexia

KW - psychophysics

KW - sensory systems

KW - staircase

KW - vision

UR - https://peerj.com/articles/3231/

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85018930017&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.7717/peerj.3231

DO - 10.7717/peerj.3231

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85018930017

VL - 2017

JO - PeerJ

JF - PeerJ

SN - 2167-8359

IS - 5

M1 - e3231

ER -