Date of Award

Winter 12-31-2019

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



The outcomes of memory search appear to have affective consequences. For instance, during recognition memory tests, concluding that a retrieval probe is from a prior study period (‘old’) leads to higher pleasantness ratings for the probe than concluding it is novel (‘new”). Grybinas, Kantner, and Dobbins (2019) explained this and related findings via a Confirmation of Search (COS) hypothesis that assumes that the affective consequences of successful versus failed episodic retrieval are misattributed to probes used to elicit memory search. While these affective misattributions clearly occur for the memory probes themselves (within-item misattribution), social psychological research has previously shown that affective misattributions can spread across items appearing close together in time (across-item misattribution). To investigate the scope of misattribution of search-related affective responses we interleaved recognition judgments (‘old’ vs ‘new’) and pleasantness ratings of items that were not judged for recognition, predicting that prior recognition conclusions would influence subsequent pleasantness ratings. Despite each experiment increasing the likelihood the affective response could transfer, all three showed no effect of recognition judgments on subsequent pleasantness ratings suggesting that the affective response to memory conclusions is specific to the items that are the focus of search operations.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Ian Dobbins

Committee Members

Mitch Sommers Henry Roediger III


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