The Revelation Effect for Autobiographical Memory: A Mixture-Model Analysis
Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, Vol. 16, No. 3, p. 463, 2009
7 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2011 Last revised: 12 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2009
Participants provided information about their childhood by rating their confidence about whether they had experienced various events (e.g., “broke a window playing ball”). On some trials, participants unscrambled a key word from the event phrase (e.g., wdinwo–window) or an unrelated word (e.g., gnutge–nugget) before seeing the event and giving their confidence ratings. The act of unscrambling led participants to increase their confidence that the event occurred in their childhood, but only when the confidence rating immediately followed the act of unscrambling. This increase in confidence mirrors the “revelation effect” observed in word recognition experiments. In the present article, we analyzed our data using a new signal detection mixture distribution model that does not require the researcher to know the veracity of memory judgments a priori. Our analysis reveals that unscrambling a key word or an unrelated word affects response bias and discriminability in autobiographical memory tests in ways that are very similar to those that have been previously found for word recognition tasks.
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