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The validity and consistency of continuous joystick response in perceptual decision-making

Maciej J. Szul Orcid Logo, Aline Bompas, Petroc Sumner, Jiaxiang Zhang Orcid Logo

Behavior Research Methods, Volume: 52, Issue: 2, Pages: 681 - 693

Swansea University Author: Jiaxiang Zhang Orcid Logo

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Abstract

A computer joystick is an efficient and cost-effective response device for recording continuous movements in psychological experiments. Movement trajectories and other measures from continuous responses have expanded the insights gained from discrete responses (e.g., button presses) by providing uni...

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Published in: Behavior Research Methods
ISSN: 1554-3528
Published: Springer Science and Business Media LLC 2020
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa61327
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Abstract: A computer joystick is an efficient and cost-effective response device for recording continuous movements in psychological experiments. Movement trajectories and other measures from continuous responses have expanded the insights gained from discrete responses (e.g., button presses) by providing unique information about how cognitive processes unfold over time. However, few studies have evaluated the validity of joystick responses with reference to conventional key presses, and how response modality can affect cognitive processes. Here we systematically compared human participants’ behavioral performance of perceptual decision-making when they responded with either joystick movements or key presses in a four-alternative motion discrimination task. We found evidence that the response modality did not affect raw behavioral measures, including decision accuracy and mean response time, at the group level. Furthermore, to compare the underlying decision processes between the two response modalities, we fitted a drift-diffusion model of decision-making to individual participants’ behavioral data. Bayesian analyses of the model parameters showed no evidence that switching from key presses to continuous joystick movements modulated the decision-making process. These results supported continuous joystick actions as a valid apparatus for continuous movements, although we highlight the need for caution when conducting experiments with continuous movement responses.
Keywords: Joystick trajectory; Decision-making; Computational modeling; Behavioral experiments; Drift-diffusion model
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Funders: M.J.S. was supported by a PhD studentship from Cardiff University School of Psychology. J.Z. was supported by a European Research Council Starting grant (716321).
Issue: 2
Start Page: 681
End Page: 693