Estimating the divergence point: A novel distributional analysis procedure for determining the onset of the influence of experimental variables

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Abstract

The divergence point analysis procedure is aimed at obtaining an estimate of the onset of the influence of an experimental variable on response latencies (e.g., fixation duration, reaction time). The procedure involves generating survival curves for two conditions, and using a bootstrapping technique to estimate the timing of the earliest discernible divergence between curves. In the present paper, several key extensions for this procedure were proposed and evaluated by conducting simulations and by reanalyzing data from previous studies. Our findings indicate that the modified versions of the procedure performed substantially better than the original procedure under conditions of low experimental power. Furthermore, unlike the original procedure, the modified procedures provided divergence point estimates for individual participants and permitted testing the significance of the difference between estimates across conditions. The advantages of the modified procedures are illustrated, the theoretical and methodological implications are discussed, and promising future directions are outlined.

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Reingold, E. M., & Sheridan, H. (2014). Estimating the divergence point: A novel distributional analysis procedure for determining the onset of the influence of experimental variables. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(DEC). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01432

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