THE APPLICATION OF CIRCULAR STATISTICS TO PSYCHOPHYSICAL RESEARCH

  • Pearl S. Guterman
  • Robert S. Allison
  • Hugh McCague

Abstract

Directional data arising from psychophysical studies requires careful processing due to its cyclicalnature. Unlike linear variables such as response time and intensity, directions can be representedas angles or vectors on a circle, may have no natural zero-point or magnitude, andare defined on a periodic circle rather than an infinite line. Because of these unique features,directional data necessitates the use of circular statistical methods; however, unfamiliarity andlimited availability of software that support circular data analysis have largely led to its underuseand misapplication. Here the implications of using linear statistics for circular data wereexplored by submitting data from a behavioural study to both circular and linear statisticalanalysis.
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