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Dubious decision evidence and criterion flexibility in recognition memory.

Kantner J, Vettel JM, Miller MB - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: Critical errors were frequent, similar across sources of motivation, and only moderately reduced by feedback.In Experiment 3, critical errors were only modestly reduced in a version of the security patrol with no study phase.These findings indicate that participants use even transparently non-probative information as an alternative to heavy reliance on a decision rule, a strategy that precludes optimal criterion placement.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen, MD USA ; University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA USA.

ABSTRACT
When old-new recognition judgments must be based on ambiguous memory evidence, a proper criterion for responding "old" can substantially improve accuracy, but participants are typically suboptimal in their placement of decision criteria. Various accounts of suboptimal criterion placement have been proposed. The most parsimonious, however, is that subjects simply over-rely on memory evidence - however faulty - as a basis for decisions. We tested this account with a novel recognition paradigm in which old-new discrimination was minimal and critical errors were avoided by adopting highly liberal or conservative biases. In Experiment 1, criterion shifts were necessary to adapt to changing target probabilities or, in a "security patrol" scenario, to avoid either letting dangerous people go free (misses) or harming innocent people (false alarms). Experiment 2 added a condition in which financial incentives drove criterion shifts. Critical errors were frequent, similar across sources of motivation, and only moderately reduced by feedback. In Experiment 3, critical errors were only modestly reduced in a version of the security patrol with no study phase. These findings indicate that participants use even transparently non-probative information as an alternative to heavy reliance on a decision rule, a strategy that precludes optimal criterion placement.

No MeSH data available.


Examples of stimuli used in the current experiments: female with outskirts background (left) and male with city background (right).
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Figure 1: Examples of stimuli used in the current experiments: female with outskirts background (left) and male with city background (right).

Mentions: Each model appeared against a white background for presentation during study and embedded in a realistic desert environment (ES3DStudios) for presentation at test. Sixteen scenes were used; half depicted the center of a city and half depicted the outskirts. Individual models were centered in each scene and faced forward. Test probes were presented against city backgrounds during one type of patrol and against outskirts backgrounds during the other (counterbalanced across participants). Thus, the backgrounds provided a visual context consistent with a liberal “city patrol” and a conservative “outskirts patrol,” or vice versa. Examples of the stimuli appear in Figure 1.


Dubious decision evidence and criterion flexibility in recognition memory.

Kantner J, Vettel JM, Miller MB - Front Psychol (2015)

Examples of stimuli used in the current experiments: female with outskirts background (left) and male with city background (right).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4561817&req=5

Figure 1: Examples of stimuli used in the current experiments: female with outskirts background (left) and male with city background (right).
Mentions: Each model appeared against a white background for presentation during study and embedded in a realistic desert environment (ES3DStudios) for presentation at test. Sixteen scenes were used; half depicted the center of a city and half depicted the outskirts. Individual models were centered in each scene and faced forward. Test probes were presented against city backgrounds during one type of patrol and against outskirts backgrounds during the other (counterbalanced across participants). Thus, the backgrounds provided a visual context consistent with a liberal “city patrol” and a conservative “outskirts patrol,” or vice versa. Examples of the stimuli appear in Figure 1.

Bottom Line: Critical errors were frequent, similar across sources of motivation, and only moderately reduced by feedback.In Experiment 3, critical errors were only modestly reduced in a version of the security patrol with no study phase.These findings indicate that participants use even transparently non-probative information as an alternative to heavy reliance on a decision rule, a strategy that precludes optimal criterion placement.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen, MD USA ; University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA USA.

ABSTRACT
When old-new recognition judgments must be based on ambiguous memory evidence, a proper criterion for responding "old" can substantially improve accuracy, but participants are typically suboptimal in their placement of decision criteria. Various accounts of suboptimal criterion placement have been proposed. The most parsimonious, however, is that subjects simply over-rely on memory evidence - however faulty - as a basis for decisions. We tested this account with a novel recognition paradigm in which old-new discrimination was minimal and critical errors were avoided by adopting highly liberal or conservative biases. In Experiment 1, criterion shifts were necessary to adapt to changing target probabilities or, in a "security patrol" scenario, to avoid either letting dangerous people go free (misses) or harming innocent people (false alarms). Experiment 2 added a condition in which financial incentives drove criterion shifts. Critical errors were frequent, similar across sources of motivation, and only moderately reduced by feedback. In Experiment 3, critical errors were only modestly reduced in a version of the security patrol with no study phase. These findings indicate that participants use even transparently non-probative information as an alternative to heavy reliance on a decision rule, a strategy that precludes optimal criterion placement.

No MeSH data available.