Modeling individual differences in the go/no-go task with a diffusion model

Roger Ratcliff, Cynthia Huang-Pollock, Gail McKoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The go/no-go task is one in which there are two choices, but the subject responds only to one of them, waiting out a time-out for the other choice. The task has a long history in psychology and modern applications in the clinical/neuropsychological domain. In this article, we fit a diffusion model to both experimental and simulated data. The model is the same as the two-choice model and assumes that there are two decision boundaries and termination at one of them produces a response, and at the other, the subject waits out the trial. In prior modeling, both two-choice and go/no-go data were fit simultaneously, and only group data were fit. Here the model is fit to just go/no-go data for individual subjects. This allows analyses of individual differences, which is important for clinical applications. First, we fit the standard two-choice model to two-choice data and fit the go/no-go model to reaction times (RTs) from one of the choices and accuracy from the two-choice data. Parameter values were similar between the models and had high correlations. The go/no-go model was also fit to data from a go/no-go version of the task with the same subjects as the two-choice task. A simulation study with ranges of parameter values that are obtained in practice showed similar parameter recovery between the two-choice and go/no-go models. Results show that a diffusion model with an implicit (no response) boundary can be fit to data with almost the same accuracy as fitting the two-choice model to two-choice data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-62
Number of pages21
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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