L. van Maanen
- Three boundary conditions for computing the fixed-point property in binary mixture data
- PLoS One
- Volume | Issue number
- 11 | 11
- Article number
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Amsterdam School of Economics Research Institute (ASE-RI)
The notion of “mixtures” has become pervasive in behavioral and cognitive sciences, due to the success of dual-process theories of cognition. However, providing support for such dual-process theories is not trivial, as it crucially requires properties in the data that are specific to mixture of cognitive processes. In theory, one such property could be the fixed-point property of binary mixture data, applied–for instance- to response times. In that case, the fixed-point property entails that response time distributions obtained in an experiment in which the mixture proportion is manipulated would have a common density point. In the current article, we discuss the application of the fixed-point property and identify three boundary conditions under which the fixed-point property will not be interpretable. In Boundary condition 1, a finding in support of the fixed-point will be mute because of a lack of difference between conditions. Boundary condition 2 refers to the case in which the extreme conditions are so different that a mixture may display bimodality. In this case, a mixture hypothesis is clearly supported, yet the fixed-point may not be found. In Boundary condition 3 the fixed-point may also not be present, yet a mixture might still exist but is occluded due to additional changes in behavior. Finding the fixed-property provides strong support for a dual-process account, yet the boundary conditions that we identify should be considered before making inferences about underlying psychological processes.
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