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Jakob H. Macke, Felix A. Wichmann; Estimating Critical Stimulus Features from Psychophysical Data: The Decision-Image Technique Applied to Human Faces. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):31. doi: 10.1167/9.8.31.
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© 2016 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
One of the main challenges in the sensory sciences is to identify the stimulus features on which the sensory systems base their computations: they are a pre-requisite for computational models of perception. We describe a technique—decision-images— for extracting critical stimulus features based on logistic regression. Rather than embedding the stimuli in noise, as is done in classification image analysis, we want to infer the important features directly from physically heterogeneous stimuli. A Decision-image not only defines the critical region-of-interest within a stimulus but is a quantitative template which defines a direction in stimulus space. Decision-images thus enable the development of predictive models, as well as the generation of optimized stimuli for subsequent psychophysical investigations. Here we describe our method and apply it to data from a human face discrimination experiment. We show that decision-images are able to predict human responses not only in terms of overall percent correct but are able to predict, for individual observers, the probabilities with which individual faces are (mis-) classified. We then test the predictions of the models using optimized stimuli. Finally, we discuss possible generalizations of the approach and its relationships with other models.
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