Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Chair and Committee

Ian Dobbins


We examined the influence of external recommendations on recognition memory decisions. In contrast to prior literature that primarily focuses on the negative impacts of external influences during memory judgments, we investigated whether participants can capitalize on explicit reliable recommendations in order to improve their performance. In the first experiment, participants were given explicit external recommendations: “Likely Old” or “Likely New”) that were 75% accurate for deeply and shallowly encoded test items. In the second experiment, participants were given varying levels of recommendations: 65% and 85% accurate). Across both experiments we found that participants improved their performance when given external recommendations relative to when no recommendations were available. Furthermore, we found that the degree to which participants benefitted from external recommendations is, in part, dependent on metacognitive monitoring ability. Finally, corrective feedback did not seem to improve participants’ ability to utilize external recommendations.


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