Anytime Prediction as a Model of Human Reaction Time

Omkar Kumbhar, Elena Sizikova, Najib Majaj, Denis G. Pelli

Neural networks today often recognize objects as well as people do, and thus might serve as models of the human recognition process. However, most such networks provide their answer after a fixed computational effort, whereas human reaction time varies, e.g. from 0.2 to 10 s, depending on the properties of stimulus and task. To model the effect of difficulty on human reaction time, we considered a classification network that uses early-exit classifiers to make anytime predictions. Comparing human and MSDNet accuracy in classifying CIFAR-10 images in added Gaussian noise, we find that the network equivalent input noise SD is 15 times higher than human, and that human efficiency is only 0.6\% that of the network. When appropriate amounts of noise are present to bring the two observers (human and network) into the same accuracy range, they show very similar dependence on duration or FLOPS, i.e. very similar speed-accuracy tradeoff. We conclude that Anytime classification (i.e. early exits) is a promising model for human reaction time in recognition tasks.

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