Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 589–603 | Cite as

Bayes factors for the linear ballistic accumulator model of decision-making



Evidence accumulation models of decision-making have led to advances in several different areas of psychology. These models provide a way to integrate response time and accuracy data, and to describe performance in terms of latent cognitive processes. Testing important psychological hypotheses using cognitive models requires a method to make inferences about different versions of the models which assume different parameters to cause observed effects. The task of model-based inference using noisy data is difficult, and has proven especially problematic with current model selection methods based on parameter estimation. We provide a method for computing Bayes factors through Monte-Carlo integration for the linear ballistic accumulator (LBA; Brown and Heathcote, 2008), a widely used evidence accumulation model. Bayes factors are used frequently for inference with simpler statistical models, and they do not require parameter estimation. In order to overcome the computational burden of estimating Bayes factors via brute force integration, we exploit general purpose graphical processing units; we provide free code for this. This approach allows estimation of Bayes factors via Monte-Carlo integration within a practical time frame. We demonstrate the method using both simulated and real data. We investigate the stability of the Monte-Carlo approximation, and the LBA’s inferential properties, in simulation studies.


GPU Bayes factor Decision-making 


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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