The application of signal detection theory to decision-making in forensic science

V. L. Phillips, Michael Saks, J. L. Peterson, D. Crim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Signal Detection Theory (SDT) has come to be used in a wide variety of fields where noise and imperfect signals present challenges to the task of separating hits and correct rejections from misses and false alarms. The application of SDT helps illuminate and improve the quality of decision-making in those fields in a number of ways. The present article is designed to make SDT more accessible to forensic scientists by: (a) explaining what SDT is and how it works, (b) explicating the potential usefulness of SDT to forensic science, (c) illustrating SDT analysis using forensic science data, and (d) suggesting ways to gain the benefits of SDT analyses in the course of carrying out existing programs of quality assessment and other research on forensic science examinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-308
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Forensic science
  • Measurement
  • ROC
  • Research
  • SDT
  • Signal detection theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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