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Effects of study list composition on the word frequency effect and metacognitive attributions in recognition memory

By P. A. Higham, D. Bruno and T. Perfect


In two experiments, study-list composition was manipulated and its impact was observed on metacognitive judgements associated with recognition hits (Hs) and false alarms (FAs). Both studies involved recognition of high-frequency (HF) and low-frequency (LF) words, and focused on the FA portion of the word frequency effect. Our hypothesis was that participants can actively reject items that are distinctive from the study list, and that this effect may be strong enough to overcome the FA word frequency effect. Experiment 1 manipulated list composition with a conjunctive rule and Experiment 2 varied it by having participants study either HF or LF items prior to a test consisting of words of both frequencies. In each study H rate, FA rate, and metacognitive attributions underlying recognition decisions were investigated. In both studies, participants reported rejecting test items predominantly through a process of active rejection, which was more often reported for LF items. This effect was strong enough to reverse the FA portion of the word frequency effect in Experiment 2, but not Experiment 1. The results are discussed in terms of metacognitive rejection mechanisms in recognition memor

Topics: BF
Year: 2010
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Provided by: e-Prints Soton
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