Signal-detection theory

Signal-detection theory and associated analyses (e.g. ROC analyses) have guided thinking in experimental psychology from before the 1950s. In our research, we use this theoretical framework to predict and explain applied memory findings. We are also advancing new ways to measure elements of memory performance (e.g., discrimination accuracy, response bias), in applied eyewitness memory tasks.

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Key questions include:

-How can signal-detection theory be used to explain and analyse eyewitness memory?

-What methods should we use to measure memory performance? 

-What gives rise to the memory strength distributions? (e.g., see our Feature Matching model).

Example publications:

Colloff, M. F., Wilson, B. M., Seale-Carlisle, T. M., & Wixted, J. T. (2021). Optimizing the Selection of Fillers in Police Lineups. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 118, 8, e2017292118 [Preprint].

Colloff, M. F., Wade, K. A., Strange, D., & Wixted, J. T. (2018). Filler siphoning theory does not predict the effect of lineup fairness on the ability to discriminate innocent from guilty suspects: Reply to Smith, Wells, Smalarz, & Lampinen (2018). Psychological Science, 29, 1552-1557. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797618786459 [Supplemental material].

Colloff, M. F., Wade, K. A., Wixted, J. T., & Maylor, E. A. (2017). A signal-detection analysis of eyewitness identification across the adult lifespan. Psychology and Aging, 32, 243–258. https://doi.org/10.1037/pag0000168

Colloff, M. F., Wade, K. A., & Strange, D. (2016). Unfair lineups make witnesses more likely to confuse innocent and guilty suspects. Psychological Science, 27, 1227–1239. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797616655789

This research has been funded by The Experimental Psychological Society; The British Psychological Society; University of Birmingham College Internationalisation fund.