The ROC Toolbox: A toolbox for analyzing receiver-operating characteristics derived from confidence ratings

Joshua D. Koen, Frederick S. Barrett, Iain M. Harlow, Andrew P. Yonelinas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Signal-detection theory, and the analysis of receiver-operating characteristics (ROCs), has played a critical role in the development of theories of episodic memory and perception. The purpose of the current paper is to present the ROC Toolbox. This toolbox is a set of functions written in the Matlab programming language that can be used to fit various common signal detection models to ROC data obtained from confidence rating experiments. The goals for developing the ROC Toolbox were to create a tool (1) that is easy to use and easy for researchers to implement with their own data, (2) that can flexibly define models based on varying study parameters, such as the number of response options (e.g., confidence ratings) and experimental conditions, and (3) that provides optimal routines (e.g., Maximum Likelihood estimation) to obtain parameter estimates and numerous goodness-of-fit measures.The ROC toolbox allows for various different confidence scales and currently includes the models commonly used in recognition memory and perception: (1) the unequal variance signal detection (UVSD) model, (2) the dual process signal detection (DPSD) model, and (3) the mixture signal detection (MSD) model. For each model fit to a given data set the ROC toolbox plots summary information about the best fitting model parameters and various goodness-of-fit measures. Here, we present an overview of the ROC Toolbox, illustrate how it can be used to input and analyse real data, and finish with a brief discussion on features that can be added to the toolbox.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1399-1406
Number of pages8
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Memory
  • Open source software
  • Perception
  • Signal detection theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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