Testing Global Memory Models Using ROC Curves

Roger Ratcliff, Ching Fan Sheu, Scott D. Gronlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

341 Citations (Scopus)


Global memory models are evaluated by using data from recognition memory experiments. For recognition, each of the models gives a value of familiarity as the output from matching a test item against memory. The experiments provide ROC (receiver operating characteristic) curves that give information about the standard deviations of familiarity values for old and new test items in the models. The experimental results are consistent with normal distributions of familiarity (a prediction of the models). However, the results also show that the new-item familiarity standard deviation is about 0.8 that of the old-item familiarity standard deviation and independent of the strength of the old items (under the assumption of normality). The models are inconsistent with these results because they predict either nearly equal old and new standard deviations or increasing values of old standard deviation with strength. Thus, the data provide the basis for revision of current models or development of new models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-535
Number of pages18
JournalPsychological Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1992 Jul

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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