Global Subjective Memorability and the Strength-Based Mirror Effect in Recognition Memory

By Bruno, Davide; Higham, Philip A. et al. | Memory & Cognition, September 2009 | Go to article overview

Global Subjective Memorability and the Strength-Based Mirror Effect in Recognition Memory


Bruno, Davide, Higham, Philip A., Perfect, Timothy J., Memory & Cognition


Between-list manipulations of memory strength through repetition commonly generate a mirror effect, with more hits and fewer false alarms for strengthened items. However, this pattern is rarely seen with within-list manipulations of strength. In three experiments, we investigated the conditions under which a within-list mirror effect of strength (items presented once or thrice) is observed. In Experiments 1 and 2, we indirectly manipulated the overall subjective memorability of the studied lists by varying the proportion of nonwords. A within-list mirror effect was observed only in Experiment 2, in which a higher proportion of nonwords was presented in the study list. In Experiment 3, the presentation duration for each item (0.5 vs. 3 sec) was manipulated between groups with the purpose of affecting subjective memorability. A within-list mirror effect was observed only for the short presentation durations. Thus, across three experiments, we found the within-list mirror effect only under conditions of poor overall subjective memorability. We propose that when the overall subjective memorability is low, people switch their response strategy on an item-by-item basis and that this generates the observed mirror effect.

In recognition memory experiments, participants first study a list of items, and then, later, in a recognition memory test, they attempt to discriminate previously presented items (targets) from novel ones (distractors). A commonly used conceptual tool for understanding recognition memory performance is signal detection theory (SDT). According to SDT, targets and distractors on the recognition memory test are each distributed over a psychological strength-of-evidence dimension, with targets having higher mean strength than distractors (Figure 1). To make a recognition decision, participants are assumed to adopt a response criterion (C in Figure 1) somewhere along the strength-of-evidence dimension. If a test item has strength equal to or above the criterion, it is judged old; otherwise, it is judged new. The proportions of targets and distractors that are called old are dubbed the hit rate (HR) and false alarm rate (FAR), respectively.

The mirror effect is a phenomenon of recognition memory in which better old-new discrimination in one condition is manifested as both a higher HR and a lower FAR (e.g., Glanzer & Adams, 1985; Glanzer, Adams, Iverson, & Kim, 1993). The consistency with which the mirror effect has been observed with different recognition tasks and with different experimental manipulations led Glanzer et al. to describe it as a "regularity" (p. 546) of recognition memory.

Stretch and Wixted (1998) investigated the causes of the word frequency and the repetition-based mirror effects and concluded that the latter is a consequence of a shift in the placement of the SDT response criterion. An example of criterion shift is presented in Figure 2. In this case, strong targets (Ts) have been strengthened through study repetitions or increased presentation time so that they have higher strength-of-evidence than weak targets (Tw). In Figure 2, this graphically translates into the Ts distribution being shifted to the right on the strength-ofevidence axis relative to the Tw distribution. The distractor (D) distribution is low on the strength-of-evidence axis because distractors were not presented at study. Only one distractor distribution appears in Figure 2, because it is assumed that the strength manipulation exerts an effect only on targets, as it happens at encoding, and not on distractors. Placing response criteria at the intersection point of the target and distractor distributions for both the weak (Cw) and strong (Cs) conditions (i.e., the point corresponding to the optimal observer, C = 0; see Macmillan & Creelman, 2005) creates Cw and Cs, respectively. As can be observed in Figure 2, because of the positioning of the criteria and distributions, more old responses are given to Ts (with respect to Cs) than to Tw (with respect to Cw). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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 article

This article 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 article

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

Cited article

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 article

Global Subjective Memorability and the Strength-Based Mirror Effect in Recognition Memory
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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

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.