A dual-process account of the list-length and strength-based mirror effects in recognition

2003-08-01T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Melanie Cary Lynne Reder

Manipulating either list length (e.g., few vs. many study items) or encoding strength (e.g., one presentation vs. multiple presentations of each study item) produces a recognition mirror effect. A formal dual-process theory of recognition memory that accounts for the word-frequency mirror effect is extended to account for the list-length and strength-based mirror effects. According to this theory, the hit portions of these mirror effects result from differential ease of recollection-based recognition, and the false alarm portions result from differential reliance on familiarity-based recognition. This account yields predictions for participants’ Remember and Know responses as a function of list length and encoding strength. Empirical data and model fits from four experiments support these predictions. The data also demonstrate a reliable list-length effect when several potential confounding factors are controlled, contributing to the debate regarding the effect of list length on recognition.