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Recognition, remember-know, and confidence judgments: no evidence of cross-contamination here!

Williams, Helen L.; Bodner, Glen E.; Lindsay, D. Stephen


Glen E. Bodner

D. Stephen Lindsay


We report three experiments designed to reveal the mechanisms that underlie subjective experiences of recognition by examining effects of how those experiences are measured. Prior research has explored the potential influences of collecting metacognitive measures on memory performance. Building on this work, here we systematically evaluated whether cross-measure contamination occurs when remember-know (RK) and/or confidence (C) judgments are made after old/new recognition decisions. In Experiment 1, making either RK or C judgments did not significantly influence recognition relative to a standard no-judgment condition. In Experiment 2, making RK judgments in addition to C judgments did not significantly affect recognition or confidence. In Experiment 3, making C judgments in addition to RK judgments did not significantly affect recognition or patterns of RK responses. Cross-contamination was not apparent regardless of whether items were studied using a shallow or deep levels-of-processing task – a manipulation that yielded robust effects on recognition, RK judgments, and C. Our results indicate that under some conditions, participants can independently evaluate their recognition, subjective recognition experience, and confidence. Though contamination across measures of metamemory and memory is always possible, it may not be inevitable. This has implications for the mechanisms that underlie subjective experiences that accompany recognition judgments.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 19, 2023
Online Publication Date May 10, 2023
Publication Date Aug 9, 2023
Journal Memory
Print ISSN 0965-8211
Electronic ISSN 1464-0686
Publisher Routledge
Volume 31
Issue 7
Pages 905-917
Keywords General Psychology, Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)