Literature Database Entry


Jan Tünnermann and Ingrid Scharlau, "Stuck on a Plateau? A Model-Based Approach to Fundamental Issues in Visual Temporal-Order Judgments," Vision, vol. 2 (3), pp. 29, July 2018.


Humans are incapable of judging the temporal order of visual events at brief temporal separations with perfect accuracy. Their performance—which is of much interest in visual cognition and attention research—can be measured with the temporal-order judgment (TOJ) task, which typically produces S-shaped psychometric functions. Occasionally, researchers reported plateaus within these functions, and some theories predict such deviation from the basic S shape. However, the centers of the psychometric functions result from the weakest performance at the most difficult presentations and therefore fluctuate strongly, leaving the existence and exact shapes of plateaus unclear. This study set out to investigate whether plateaus disappear if the data accuracy is enhanced, or if we are “stuck on a plateau”, or rather with it. For this purpose, highly accurate data were assessed by model-based analysis. The existence of plateaus is confidently confirmed and two plausible mechanisms derived from very different models are presented. Neither model, however, performs well in the presence of a strong attention manipulation, and model comparison remains unclear on the question of which of the models describes the data best. Nevertheless, the present study includes the highest accuracy in visual TOJ data and the most explicit models of plateaus in TOJ studied so far.

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Jan Tünnermann
Ingrid Scharlau

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    author = {T{\"{u}}nnermann, Jan and Scharlau, Ingrid},
    doi = {10.3390/vision2030029},
    title = {{Stuck on a Plateau? A Model-Based Approach to Fundamental Issues in Visual Temporal-Order Judgments}},
    pages = {29},
    journal = {Vision},
    publisher = {MDPI},
    month = {7},
    number = {3},
    volume = {2},
    year = {2018},

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