Chapter

A Signal Detection Analysis of the Recognition Heuristic

Timothy J. Pleskac

in Heuristics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199744282
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894727 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744282.003.0015
A Signal Detection Analysis of the Recognition Heuristic

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The recognition heuristic uses a recognition decision to make an inference about an unknown variable in the world. Theories of recognition memory typically use a signal detection framework to predict this binary recognition decision. This chapter integrates the recognition heuristic with signal detection theory to formally investigate how judges use their recognition memory to make inferences. The analysis reveals that false alarms and misses systematically influence the performance of the recognition heuristic. Furthermore, judges should adjust their recognition response criterion according to their experience with the environment to exploit the structure of information in it. Finally, the less-is-more effect is found to depend on the distribution of cue knowledge and judges' sensitivity to the difference between experienced and novel items. Theoretical implications of this bridge between the recognition heuristic and models of recognition memory are discussed.

Keywords: recognition heuristic; signal detection theory; memory; less-is-more effect; heuristics

Chapter.  9857 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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