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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.


Mean criterion shifts in the standard and study-free patrol tasks in Experiment 3. Error bars represent the SEM.
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Figure 6: Mean criterion shifts in the standard and study-free patrol tasks in Experiment 3. Error bars represent the SEM.

Mentions: Mean criterion shifts are presented as a function of patrol type and patrol order in Figure 6. As predicted, shifts were much wider in the study-free patrol than in the standard patrol, though the order of the two patrols was highly influential. When the study-free recognition task came first, shifting was similar across the two patrol types; when the standard patrol came first, shifting was approximately three times greater in the study-free patrol. A Type × Order ANOVA confirmed these trends, revealing a significant main effect of type, F(1,89) = 19.3, p < 0.001, = 0.178, and a significant Type × Order interaction, F(1,89) = 14.2, p < 0.001, = 0.137. Because patterns of criterion placement depended critically on the order of the tasks, we report critical error data separately for the study-free-first and standard-first groups.


Dubious decision evidence and criterion flexibility in recognition memory.

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

Mean criterion shifts in the standard and study-free patrol tasks in Experiment 3. Error bars represent the SEM.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 6: Mean criterion shifts in the standard and study-free patrol tasks in Experiment 3. Error bars represent the SEM.
Mentions: Mean criterion shifts are presented as a function of patrol type and patrol order in Figure 6. As predicted, shifts were much wider in the study-free patrol than in the standard patrol, though the order of the two patrols was highly influential. When the study-free recognition task came first, shifting was similar across the two patrol types; when the standard patrol came first, shifting was approximately three times greater in the study-free patrol. A Type × Order ANOVA confirmed these trends, revealing a significant main effect of type, F(1,89) = 19.3, p < 0.001, = 0.178, and a significant Type × Order interaction, F(1,89) = 14.2, p < 0.001, = 0.137. Because patterns of criterion placement depended critically on the order of the tasks, we report critical error data separately for the study-free-first and standard-first groups.

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.