Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Receiver-Operating Characteristics

  • Michael Franzen
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56782-2_1240-2


The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve is an evaluation of the classification accuracy of a test under various conditions. The curve can be determined by plotting the true-positive rate against the false-positive rate. The ROC curve can also be thought of as the plot of the sensitivity versus 1 – the specificity. In neuropsychological assessment, the ROC curve is sometimes used to determine the optimum cutoff score for a decision based on the test.

Originally ROC methods were developed to help evaluate the accuracy of radar operators during World War II as part of the development of signal detection theory. Later, psychologist used the ROC in evaluating experiments in sensory detection. More recently and extensively, ROC has been applied to evaluating diagnostic tests in medicine as well as test accuracy in neuropsychological assessment. Although the scores that are the input in ROC analyses are continuous, the decisions or outcomes are binary, yes/no, and...

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References and Readings

  1. Ivnik, R. J., Smith, G. E., Cerhan, J. H., Boeve, B. F., Tangalos, E. G., & Petersen, R. C. (2001). Understanding the diagnostic capabilities of cognitive tests. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 15, 114–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chief PsychologistAllegheny General HospitalPittsburghUSA