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Obituary | Robert Daniel Sorkin | 1938-2018
’ ‘W Robert Daniel Sorkin, 81, His applications of signal detection theory led to the extension
‘ a scholar, educator, and of his work to the development of auditory and tactile alarms
g avid sailor. passed away on such as would be applicable in factories and airplane coclcpits.
" ' Friday, December 28, 2018,
I in St. Augustine, FL. He was If one is to install an alarm, someone else will surely turn
a Fellow of the Acoustical it off. He postulated the reason for this is that the criterion
Sodety of America and past set for the automatic alarm created a high false alarm rate.
associate editor of Psycho- This led to the development of the concept of a likelihood
logical Acoustics. alarm in which there is a situationally aware criterion set
for the automated alarm.
Bob was born in Manhattan
and lived in the Bronx, NY, and Maplewood. N].After graduat- Examining the relationship between observers and their
ing from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh. PA, decisions naturally led to the question of how decisions by
he earned a PhD in psychology fiom The University of Michi- individuals and groups evolve. in 2004, he published a paper
gan, Ann Arbor. Bob was a professor at Purdue University, in which he extended the theory of signal detectability to an
West Lafayette, IN, and then moved to the University of Florida, analysis of group decision making.
Gainesville, to chair the Department of Psychology, with a dual
appointmentinindustrial engineering. Healso servedintheAir In 2007, he retired as Emeritus Professor of Psychology
Force Oflice of Szjentific Research and the Air Force Research and of Industrial and Systems Engineering and moved
Laboratoryas a senior scientist. to St. Augustine. Bob is survived by his wife Nancy, with
whom he shared 58 happy years, two children, five grand-
Bob published over 50 research articles and a book in areas children, and his brother Barry. He was predeceased by his
of auditory perception, alarm detection, and decision theory. brother Bernard.
He vims awarded four US patents.
Selected Publications by Robert Daniel Snrkin
Under the influence of his mentor W. P. "Spike" Tanner, Bob K;|'|t“"Ni;z.B. sar:in.R.  (1941l?3).;IISAr-'It1rI Sflctflc-' tl:"4"St“"'1'"8
mendedwemeoworssgna1aetec«atmw«omamwo- s..i.';’.’..‘;..’.‘i§.“(...f..‘,‘."£‘..;’1.‘.'.-I.‘1.
Cedms in PSYV-h°P11Y55C5~ He =PPli=d this to Chmcterizc the matching procedures in pxychnacoustics. 11:: Iourmxl ofthe Acoustical
listening process as a multichannel detection process. Multi- 395599’ I7fAm:n'm 34. 1745-17351. _ _
°*1=*m°'“5“*=“‘s wed "mo =n  in we svm S:;::%.:‘;..‘:-. :‘.’.:?)..‘:",::‘:;7 :;%2:‘,:‘::::::,:. :';:‘;..:":,“;::::.::
His early work examined the auditory detection of uncertain 38_ 2074”
signals and nionaural detection of signals with uncertain time Snrldn, R. D. (1989). Why are people turning or our alarms? The Ioumal
dismbuuun and frequency. 3y Exlmining the detection of 3 ofllxe Araiutical Society ufAmericn M. 1107-1103. _ _
monaummwtvresmcedasasnsrmer»rese-===«ms=-=m:ra 5::.*;:.‘?.”.;.::.‘;.i;;:.:‘:.:*::.:“:::.t;%‘1:*.§.$;:::..‘::?:;‘::.:?;::£.';
contralateml sound. he detfirmmed the 85801 Ofthe Interaction (Eds), Handbook ofludgment and Decision Making. Blackwell, oxrmd,
of binaural listening charmels. UK. pp. 464-484.
Several papers published with his students examined opti- Written by:
mined alarms based on detection with automated likelihood Iohn Erdreich
detectors monitored by human observers, This interest in how Email: }
observers operate on available information led to an exai'nina- Ostergaard Acoustical Associates (Retired),
tion of group decision strategies. Although much of his early West Orange, NJ
wmkwu in Psychoamusfics’ Bob was many a «Signal dgtecmnn  
Summer N19 | nuau-an-rim-y [ as

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