Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



Prior literature has demonstrated that participants use probabilistic, verbal memory cues (‘Likely Old’ or ‘Likely New’) to adaptively bias their recognition judgments. Here we tested whether this is more effective when the cues are the actual videotaped responses of others taking the same recognition test, based on the possibility that observers might use non-verbal confidence signs to modulate their degree of cue reliance on each trial. Experiment 1 demonstrated observers could reliably rate the confidence of others (Models) from single recognition responses (‘old’ or ‘new’) and that when doing so, the latency of the model’s response was the primary influence, with a secondary influence of non-latency information presumably linked to prosody or facial expression. In Experiment 2, subjects were asked to use these video-taped recognition responses as memory cues while they undertook the same recognition test. The model’s responses reliably biased the observer’s recognition judgments and were reliably moderated by the model’s response latency; non-latency signs of confidence were not reliably influential. In Experiment 3, observers were asked to explicitly rate the confidence of the model’s responses before using them during their own recognition judgments. Their initial ratings of the model’s confidence were sensitive to latency and non-latency confidence signs; however, the subsequent recognition judgments of the observers were again only sensitive to the latency of the model’s recognition judgments. Overall, subjects can rapidly read non-verbal confidence information contained in brief single recognition responses. However, when using these to inform their own recognition judgments, only response latency appears to reliably moderate the biasing of recognition judgments.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Ian G. Dobbins

Committee Members

Henry L. Roediger III, David A. Balota


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