NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ934191
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-1076-898X
Regulation of Memory Accuracy with Multiple Answers: The Plurality Option
Luna, Karlos; Higham, Philip A.; Martin-Luengo, Beatriz
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, v17 n2 p148-158 Jun 2011
We report two experiments that investigated the regulation of memory accuracy with a new regulatory mechanism: the plurality option. This mechanism is closely related to the grain-size option but involves control over the number of alternatives contained in an answer rather than the quantitative boundaries of a single answer. Participants were presented with a slideshow depicting a robbery (Experiment 1) or a murder (Experiment 2), and their memory was tested with five-alternative multiple-choice questions. For each question, participants were asked to generate two answers: a single answer consisting of one alternative and a plural answer consisting of the single answer and two other alternatives. Each answer was rated for confidence (Experiment 1) or for the likelihood of being correct (Experiment 2), and one of the answers was selected for reporting. Results showed that participants used the plurality option to regulate accuracy, selecting single answers when their accuracy and confidence were high, but opting for plural answers when they were low. Although accuracy was higher for selected plural than for selected single answers, the opposite pattern was evident for confidence or likelihood ratings. This dissociation between confidence and accuracy for selected answers was the result of marked overconfidence in single answers coupled with underconfidence in plural answers. We hypothesize that these results can be attributed to overly dichotomous metacognitive beliefs about personal knowledge states that cause subjective confidence to be extreme. (Contains 1 table, 3 figures, and 4 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Portugal; United Kingdom (Southampton)