Handbook of Health Psychology

By Andrew Baum; Tracey A. Revenson et al. | Go to book overview

22
Recall Biases and Cognitive Errors
in Retrospective Self-Reports:
A Call for Momentary Assessments
Amy A. Gorin
Arthur A. Stone
State University of New York at Stony Brook

0ne of the primary means of obtaining information from participants in behavioral science research is through the use of retrospective self-reports. Research participants are often required to recall both qualitative and quantitative details about prior events, symptoms, behaviors, and psychological processes (Babor, J. Brown, & Del Boca, 1990). Retrospective self-reports also play an important role in clinical practice. Patients are commonly asked to provide information about their health histories, previous affective states, cognitions, assessment and treatment. The benefits of retrospective selfreports are numerous: They can be developed quickly, are easy to administer and to complete, tend to have strong face validity (Stone, Shiffman, & DeVries, 1999), and are very economical (Baker & Brandon, 1990).

Until recently, participants' confidence in their own reports was the primary indicator of the accuracy of retrospective recall. As participants are usually quite confident in their own recall, the validity of retrospective self-reports has generally been assumed to be high (Fienberg, Loftus, & Tanur, 1985; Read, Vokey, & Hammersley, 1990). However, research in the field of autobiographical memory questions this assumption. Specifically, a growing body of empirical studies indicates that instead of producing reliable and valid information as once assumed, retrospective self-reports are susceptible to numerous recall biases and cognitive errors (Jobe & Mingay, 1991; Jobe, White, Kelley, Mingay, & Sanchez, 1990; Thompson, Skowronski, Larsen, & Betz, 1996). According to Ross (1989, p. 342), retrospective recall appears to be “an active, constructive, schema-guided process, ” which at times is inaccurate. This is not to suggest that retrospective self-reports are' meaningless-they undoubtedly provide valuable information about participants' general perceptions of past events and, perhaps, about their future actions. Rather, it appears necessary to recognize their limitations as tools for gathering accurate, detailed, autobiographical facts and to explore alternative means of obtaining such information.

Given researchers' and clinicians' heavy reliance on retrospective self-reports, this chapter has three goals. First, it reviews autobiographical memory processes involved in retrospective self-reporting such as personal memories and generic personal memory. Second, it provides a summary of the types of recall biases and cognitive errors that impact retrospective self-reports. Rather than reviewing all relevant studies in detail, one or two examples of each recall bias are used to highlight the sorts of errors that can occur. Third, it introduces a relatively new alternative to retrospective self-reports, namely, intensive momentary-based assessments, and discusses instances when this approach may be preferable to traditional self-report methods of collecting information.

-405-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Handbook of Health Psychology
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 962

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.