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Explaining the forgetting bias effect on value judgments: the influence of memory for a past test

Rhodes, M., G., Witherby, A., E., Castel, A., D. and Murayama, K. (2017) Explaining the forgetting bias effect on value judgments: the influence of memory for a past test. Memory & Cognition, 45 (3). pp. 362-374. ISSN 1532-5946

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3758/s13421-016-0674-z


People often feel that information that was forgotten is less important than remembered information. Prior work has shown that participants assign higher importance to remembered information while undervaluing forgotten information. The current study examined two possible accounts of this finding. In three experiments, participants studied lists of words in which each word was randomly assigned a point value denoting the value of remembering the word. Following the presentation of each list participants engaged in a free recall test. After the presentation of all lists participants were shown each of the words they had studied and asked to recall the point value that was initially paired with each word. Experiment 1 tested a fluency-based account by presenting items for value judgments in a low-fluency or high-fluency format. Experiment 2 examined whether value judgments reflect attributions based on the familiarity of an item when value judgments are made. Finally, in Experiment 3, we evaluated whether participants believe that forgotten words are less important by having them judge whether an item was initially recalled or forgotten prior to making a value judgment. Manipulating the fluency of an item presented for judgment had no influence on value ratings (Experiment 1) and familiarity exerted a limited influence on value judgments (Experiment 2). More importantly, participants’ value judgments appeared to reflect a theory that remembered information is more valuable than forgotten information (Experiment 3). Overall, the present work suggests that individuals may apply a theory about remembering and forgetting to retrospectively assess the value of information.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
ID Code:68203


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