Comparison of the Sensitivity of Yes/No and Forced Choice Associative Recognition

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Schliewinsky, Garrett
Wilfrid Laurier University
memory; associative recognition; familiarity; yes/no task; forced choice task; Cognitive Psychology; Psychology
thesis / dissertation description
Yes-no (YN) and forced choice (FC) associative recognition tasks were compared across three experiments to test the varying effects of familiarity. Schliewinsky and Hockley (2016) previously found a discrimination advantage for FC tasks over YN tasks when word pairs were familiarized. The present research is a continuation to further explore the effects of increased familiarity. Experiment 1 manipulated the familiarity of individual items in the word pairs. No discrimination advantage for the FC condition over the YN condition was found when only item familiarity was increased, emphasizing the importance of associative information for accurate associative recognition. There was, though, a significant effect of item familiarity in the FC task but not for YN responses. Experiment 2 manipulated the familiarity of word pairs and compared simultaneous and sequential FC test procedures. Presentation format did not affect FC associative recognition performance. Due to shortcomings of Experiment 3, the significant discrimination advantage found for FC tasks over YN tasks was not replicated in a withinsubjects design. Trends of the data suggest that this advantage does exist. This study provides evidence for reliance of familiarity-based recognition decisions in FC associative recognition tasks and recall-based recollection in YN associative recognition tasks. Researchers cannot assume models like signal detection theory can account for the equal sensitivity of FC and YN procedures for complex tasks such as associative recognition.