Retrieval dynamics of recognition and rejection

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Recognition memory is often viewed as the end-product of discrete cognitive events, involving the combination of latent operations such as the assessment of memory strength, the decision time, and the memory judgement. Recently, researchers have begun using the physical dynamics of memory retrieval to provide insight into the dynamic, possibly non-discrete, processes that underlie memory decisions. In this study, the underlying distributional properties of targets and lures were manipulated by populating lists with items drawn from either homogeneous or heterogeneous word frequency and context variability ranges. In all conditions, participants' mouse coordinates were recorded as they processed test items, allowing estimates of response dynamics (e.g., initial deviation and area under the curve [AUC]), and eventual old/new responses. The stimulus manipulations affected the distribution shapes and, to a greater degree, the placements of subjective confidence thresholds. We observed tight correspondences between confidence and AUC for both hits and correct rejections. We interpret these results within dynamic models of recognition memory.

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Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006)

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