We develop a broad theoretical framework for modelling difficult perceptual information integration tasks under different decision rules. The framework allows us to compare coactive architectures, which combine information before it enters the decision process, with parallel architectures, where logical rules combine independent decisions made about each perceptual source. For both architectures we test the novel hypothesis that participants break the decision rules on some trials, making a response based on only one stimulus even though task instructions require them to consider both. Our models take account of not only the decisions made but also the distribution of the time that it takes to make them, providing an account of speed-accuracy tradeoffs and response biases occurring when one response is required more often than another. We also test a second novel hypothesis, that the nature of the decision rule changes the evidence on which choices are based. We apply the models to data from a perceptual integration task with near threshold stimuli under two different decision rules. The coactive architecture was clearly rejected in favor of logical-rules. The logical-rule models were shown to provide an accurate account of all aspects of the data, but only when they allow for response bias and the possibility for subjects to break those rules. We discuss how our framework can be applied more broadly, and its relationship to Townsend and Nozawa’s (1995) Systems-Factorial Technology.
breaking the rules, preceptual information integration tasks, decision rules