Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

How Level of Processing Really Influences Awareness in Recognition Memory

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

How Level of Processing Really Influences Awareness in Recognition Memory

Article excerpt

Abstract In yes/no and two - alternative forced - choice recognition tests, subjects reported one of three states of awareness when selecting each target: remembering, knowing, or guessing. A remember response indicated recollection of the target's occurrence in the study list. A know response indicated the target was familiar in the experimental context but not recollected. A guess response indicated the target was selected in the absence of either remembering or knowing. In Experiments 1 and 2, level of processing influenced remember responses but not know responses and, in Experiment 3, generating versus reading similarly influenced remember but not know responses. In each experiment, when subjects reported that they were guessing they showed no ability to discriminate targets from lures. These results show that remember/know findings generalize from yes/no to two - alternative forced - choice recognition and that knowing is dissociable from guessing. The results also provide no support for the hypothesis, based on an independence model of remembering and knowing, and some other apparently contradictory results, that variables that have large effects on remembering produce opposite effects on knowing. A meta - analysis of previous level - of - processing studies yielded evidence consistent with these conclusions.

In recent studies we have been developing an experiential approach to memory and awareness (Gardiner & Java, 1993a, 1993b; Java, 1994; Richardson - Klavehn & Gardiner, 1995a; Richardson - Klavehn, Gardiner, & Java, 1994, 1996). The essence of this approach is that objective measures of performance are supplemented by subjective reports of states of awareness. Put another way, third - person accounts of memory and awareness are supplemented by first - person accounts (see Velmans, 1991). This approach allows inferences theorists make indirectly about subjective states of awareness to be checked directly against subjective reports about these states of awareness, and so it raises the rather general problem of how third - person and first - person accounts of memory and awareness are to be reconciled. At its most fundamental, this problem concerns relations between (1) hypothetical constructs used in theory, such as memory systems and processes; (2) memory performance; and (3) awareness, especially subjects' awareness of what they are trying to do to meet the demands of the tasks they are given, and their awareness of memory for the particular items they may encounter when carrying out such tasks (Gardiner & Java, 1993a, 1993b; Richardson - Klavehn et al., 1996).

Where recognition memory is concerned, subjects' awareness of memory for particular items they may encounter includes at least two discrete states: recollection, and feelings of familiarity in the absence of recollection. These states of awareness have been measured by remember and know responses (Gardiner, 1988; Tulving, 1985a), which have revealed many functional dissociations within overall recognition memory performance (for reviews, see Gardiner & Java, 1993a, 1993b; Rajaram & Roediger, in press; Richardson - Klavehn et al., 1996). In Tulving's (1983, 1985a, 1985b) theory, remembering and knowing are associated respectively with retrieval from episodic and semantic memory systems, and it is assumed that the relation between these systems is one of inclusivity (or redundancy), in the sense that representation in the episodic system necessarily entails representation in the semantic system, but not vice versa.

Remember and know responses are defined exclusively, but at the level of the responses the difference between exclusivity and inclusivity is only a matter of definition. In each case, know responses would be defined as familiarity in the absence of recollection, and, with inclusivity, remember responses would be defined as recollection and familiarity, not just recollection. But subjects would still experience the same two states of awareness, regardless of whether the responses define these states as having an inclusive or an exclusive relation. …

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