Question format shifts bias away from the emphasised response in tests of recognition memory
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The question asked to interrogate memory has potential to influence response bias at retrieval, yet has not been systematically investigated. According to framing effects in the field of eyewitness testimony, retrieval cueing effects in cognitive psychology and the acquiescence bias in questionnaire responding, the question should establish a confirmatory bias. Conversely, according to findings from the rewarded decision-making literature involving mixed incentives, the question should establish a disconfirmatory bias. Across three experiments (ns = 90 [online], 29 [laboratory] and 29 [laboratory]) we demonstrate a disconfirmatory bias - "old?" decreased old responding. This bias is underpinned by a goal-driven mechanism wherein participants seek to maximise emphasised response accuracy at the expense of frequency. Moreover, we demonstrate that disconfirmatory biases can be generated without explicit reference to the goal state. We conclude that subtle aspects of the test environment influence retrieval to a greater extent than has been previously considered.
Mill , R D & O'Connor , A R 2014 , ' Question format shifts bias away from the emphasised response in tests of recognition memory ' , Consciousness and Cognition , vol. 30 , pp. 91-104 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2014.09.006
Consciousness and Cognition
© 2014. Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Consciousness and Cognition. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Consciousness and Cognition, 30, November 2014 DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2014.09.006