Testing Theories of Recognition Memory by Predicting Performance Across Paradigms


  1. Smith, D.G.
  2. Duncan, M.J.J.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
It is often assumed that recognition judgments are based on a judgment of the familiarity of the test item. This basic assumption has led to a successful explanation of experimental results through the use of a formal decision model called Signal Detection Theory (SDT). Recently, several authors have suggested that recognition often involves a second, almost error free, process called recollection. Much support for the existence of a recollection process comes from fitting a hybrid SDT model, called Dual-Process Theory (DPT), which permits estimates of recollection and familiarity during retrieval. In two experiments we tested predictions of DPT and SDT by comparing the invariance of parameter estimates between yes/no (Y/N) and two-alternative forced choice (2AFC) testing paradigms. Despite neutral encoding between tasks, both experiments showed recollection estimates in Y/N to be different from recollection estimates in 2AFC. Although SDT and DPT produced statistically reliable estimates of familiarity between tasks, SDT predictions explained more variance than that explained by DPT. We evaluate and discuss the results by comparing and contrasting the extent to which each model possesses theoretical validity vs. computational flexibility in curve fitting.

Il y a un résumé en français ici.

Memory;Recognition;Dual-Process Theory;Signal-Detection Theory;ROC
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-SL-2003-164 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 May 2004
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognitionm vol 30, no 3, 2004, p 615-625
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