On The Theory of Fuzzy Signal Detection: Theoretical and Practical Considerations and Extensions


Hancock, P.A., Masalonis, A.J., & Parasuraman, R. (2000). On the theory of fuzzy signal detection: Theoretical and practical considerations and extensions. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomic Science, 1(3), 207-230.

This work examines the foundations for and explores the implications of fuzzy signal detection (Fuzzy SDT), a theory that represents the marriage of two powerful extant theories, fuzzy set theory and signal detection theory. Fuzzy SDT permits the modeling and prediction of human, machine, and human-machine performance in a wide range of settings. Fuzzy SDT exploits the strength of each theory to provide new and dynamic insights into performance. Fuzzy SDT explicitly recognizes that the binary decision states of classic signal detection represent two ends of a single continuum whose uncertainty decreases towards such end states and is maximized in its centre. It is shown how Fuzzy SDT has its origins in some more general concepts of human performance, and companion work are referenced which provide the mathematical foundation for Fuzzy SDT and its application in a specific domain. The present work examines the wider implications of Fuzzy SDT by illustrating the relevance of fuzzification in the larger cycle of design, configuration, and use of technology. It also examines the broader concerns of the temporal relationship between signal and response, showing time to be crucial, if neglected, a dimension of action, the exploration and exploitation of which can produce a deeper understanding of human behaviour in psychology, machine behviour in engineering and human-machine behaviour in ergonomics.

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