Two choices good, four choices better: For measuring stereoacuity in children, a four-alternative forced-choice paradigm is more efficient than two

Purpose
Measuring accurate thresholds in children can be challenging. A typical psychophysical
experiment is usually too long to keep children engaged. However, a reduction in the number of trials decreases the precision of the threshold estimate. We evaluated the efficiency
of forced-choice paradigms with 2 or 4 alternatives (2-AFC, 4-AFC) in a disparity detection
experiment. 4-AFC paradigms are statistically more efficient, but also more cognitively
demanding, which might offset their theoretical advantage in young children.
Methods
We ran simulations evaluating bias and precision of threshold estimates of 2-AFC and 4-
AFC paradigms. In addition, we measured disparity thresholds in 43 children (aged 6 to 17
years) with a 4-AFC paradigm and in 49 children (aged 4 to 17 years) with a 2-AFC paradigm, both using an adaptive weighted one-up one-down staircase.
Results
Simulations indicated a similar bias and precision for a 2-AFC paradigm with double the number of trials as a 4-AFC paradigm. On average, estimated threshold of the simulated data was equal to the model threshold, indicating no bias. The precision was improved with an increasing number of trials. Likewise, our data showed a similar bias and precision for a 2-AFC paradigm with 60 trials as for a 4-AFC paradigm with 30 trials. Trials in the 4-AFC paradigm took slightly longer as participants scanned more alternatives. However, the 4-AFC task still ended up faster for a given precision.
Conclusion
Bias and precision were similar in a 4-AFC task compared to a 2-AFC task with double the number of trials. However, a 4-AFC paradigm was more time efficient and is therefore recommended
VancleefReadHerbertGoodshipWoodhouseSerranoPedraza2018.pdf
File Size4.5 MiB
DateMarch 22, 2019
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AuthorVancleef K, Read JCA, Herbert W, Goodship N, Woodhouse M, Serrano-Pedraza I