Source memory for unrecognized items: predictions from multivariate signal detection theory

Jeffrey J. Starns, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803-5501, USA.
Jason L. Hicks
Noelle L. Brown
Benjamin A. Martin


We report three experiments investigating source memory for words that were called "new" on a recognition test. In each experiment, participants could accurately specify the source of words that they failed to recognize. Results also demonstrated that source memory for unrecognized items varied with the bias to respond "old" in recognition decisions: Participants displayed unrecognized source memory when they were told that 25% of the recognition test words were old (promoting conservative responding) but not when they were told that 75% of the test words were old (promoting liberal responding). Our results were successfully predicted by a multivariate signal detection approach to recognition/source memory.