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Is it conceptualised as the signal distribution moving rightward, or as the noise distribution moving leftward?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Technically it can go either way, and both situations would be conceptually and statistically equivalent. But it is conventional to fix the mean of the noise distribution at 0, so that increased discriminability corresponds graphically with the signal+noise distribution moving rightward along the latent axis.

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it's worth noting that one can also represent an increase in sensitivity as a decrease in the standard deviation of the distributions –  Jeff Oct 14 '13 at 15:59

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