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ERIC Number: EJ1056083
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Sep
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Criterion Noise in Ratings-Based Recognition: Evidence from the Effects of Response Scale Length on Recognition Accuracy
Benjamin, Aaron S.; Tullis, Jonathan G.; Lee, Ji Hae
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v39 n5 p1601-1608 Sep 2013
Rating scales are a standard measurement tool in psychological research. However, research has suggested that the cognitive burden involved in maintaining the criteria used to parcel subjective evidence into ratings introduces "decision noise" and affects estimates of performance in the underlying task. There has been debate over whether such decision noise is evident in recognition, with some authors arguing that it is substantial and others arguing that it is trivial or nonexistent. Here we directly assess the presence of decision noise by evaluating whether the length of a rating scale on which recognition judgments are provided is inversely related to performance on the recognition task. That prediction was confirmed: Rating scales with more options led to lower estimates of recognition than did scales with fewer options. This result supports the claim that decision noise contributes to recognition judgments and additionally suggests that caution is warranted when using rating scales more generally.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois
Grant or Contract Numbers: NIA 026263