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Detecting time-specific differences between temporal nonlinear curves: Analyzing data from the visual world paradigm.

Abstract

In multiple fields of study, time series measured at high frequencies are used to estimate population curves that describe the temporal evolution of some characteristic of interest. These curves are typically nonlinear, and the deviations of each series from the corresponding curve are highly autocorrelated. In this scenario, we propose a procedure to compare the response curves for different groups at specific points in time. The method involves fitting the curves, performing potentially hundreds of serially correlated tests, and appropriately adjusting the overall alpha level of the tests. Our motivating application comes from psycholinguistics and the visual world paradigm. We describe how the proposed technique can be adapted to compare fixation curves within subjects as well as between groups. Our results lead to conclusions beyond the scope of previous analyses.

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