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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.


Criterion shifts for each participant in the standard and study-free patrol tasks in Experiment 3. In each task, the maximum shift possible was 4.91.
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Figure 8: Criterion shifts for each participant in the standard and study-free patrol tasks in Experiment 3. In each task, the maximum shift possible was 4.91.

Mentions: Removal of the study phase in the study-free patrol did not influence all participants equally, however. Figure 8 displays criterion shifting for each participant in the standard and study-free patrols, ordered from the smallest shift for a given patrol on the left to the largest shift on the right. For example, the first pair of bars on the left represents the smallest shift by a participant in the standard patrol followed by the smallest shift by a participant in the study-free patrol; the nth pair of bars represents the nth largest shift in each task (note that shifts are ordered independently for the standard and study-free patrols, such that a given pair of bars represents the same shifting rank for each patrol type, but not necessarily the same participant). This plot illustrates a critical distinction between performance on the two patrol types: while broad individual differences characterized shifting on both tasks, many more individuals shifted at or near the maximum level (corresponding to a value of 4.91 in the present experiment) in the study-free patrol than in the standard patrol. Strikingly, 16 participants minimized critical misses, critical false alarms, or both in the study-free patrol; only two did so in the standard patrol. Removing memory evidence, then, induced many more participants to adopt an extreme criterion. Of the 16 participants eliminating critical errors in the study-free patrol, 13 had received the standard patrol first, suggesting that having experience with a standard study-test cycle first made the loss of the study phase in the study-free patrol more salient, provoking participants to abandon any attempt to utilize decision evidence. These results demonstrate that a strategy of disregarding faulty decision evidence is not beyond the means of individuals; rather, some individuals do indeed execute such shifts, while most do not.


Dubious decision evidence and criterion flexibility in recognition memory.

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

Criterion shifts for each participant in the standard and study-free patrol tasks in Experiment 3. In each task, the maximum shift possible was 4.91.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 8: Criterion shifts for each participant in the standard and study-free patrol tasks in Experiment 3. In each task, the maximum shift possible was 4.91.
Mentions: Removal of the study phase in the study-free patrol did not influence all participants equally, however. Figure 8 displays criterion shifting for each participant in the standard and study-free patrols, ordered from the smallest shift for a given patrol on the left to the largest shift on the right. For example, the first pair of bars on the left represents the smallest shift by a participant in the standard patrol followed by the smallest shift by a participant in the study-free patrol; the nth pair of bars represents the nth largest shift in each task (note that shifts are ordered independently for the standard and study-free patrols, such that a given pair of bars represents the same shifting rank for each patrol type, but not necessarily the same participant). This plot illustrates a critical distinction between performance on the two patrol types: while broad individual differences characterized shifting on both tasks, many more individuals shifted at or near the maximum level (corresponding to a value of 4.91 in the present experiment) in the study-free patrol than in the standard patrol. Strikingly, 16 participants minimized critical misses, critical false alarms, or both in the study-free patrol; only two did so in the standard patrol. Removing memory evidence, then, induced many more participants to adopt an extreme criterion. Of the 16 participants eliminating critical errors in the study-free patrol, 13 had received the standard patrol first, suggesting that having experience with a standard study-test cycle first made the loss of the study phase in the study-free patrol more salient, provoking participants to abandon any attempt to utilize decision evidence. These results demonstrate that a strategy of disregarding faulty decision evidence is not beyond the means of individuals; rather, some individuals do indeed execute such shifts, while most do not.

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.