ERIC Number: EJ1087013
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Hitting a High Note on Math Tests: Remembered Success Influences Test Preferences
Finn, Bridgid; Miele, David B.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v42 n1 p17-38 Jan 2016
Remembered utility is the retrospective evaluation about the pleasure and pain associated with a past experience. It can influence choices about repeating or avoiding similar situations in the future (Kahneman, 2000). A set of 5 experiments explored the remembered utility of effortful test episodes and how it impacted future test choices. Experiments 1-3 mimicked Kahneman, Fredrickson, Schreiber, and Redelmeier's (1993) cold pressor study, but used a challenging test experience in place of submerging one's hand in painfully cold ice water. Participants took a short and an extended test of difficult math problems. The short test was made of 30 difficult math problems. The extended test used 30 difficult problems plus 10 moderately difficult problems. Participants made retrospective evaluations about the tests and chose which kind of test (short or extended) they wanted for their next test and for a hypothetical test 1 day later. Results showed that a challenging test episode extended by a more moderate interval was preferred to an unextended interval. Future test choices reflected this preference. This pattern was evidenced even when points were awarded only to correctly answered difficult items but not to moderately answered difficult items. Experiment 4 directly compared preferences for a moderate end versus a moderate start test, and Experiment 5 contrasted those test conditions with a moderate middle test condition. The findings demonstrated test-takers' bias in favor of test experiences that start or end on a high note.
Descriptors: Mathematics Tests, Preferences, Decision Making, Experimental Psychology, Barriers, Problem Solving, Difficulty Level, Metacognition, Memory, Performance, Pain
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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