Strategic and Implicitly Reinforced Criterion Shifting in Recognition Memory: An Individual Differences Perspective
Individuals can strategically shift their memory decision criterion to be more liberal/conservative than their baseline state when motivated to do so, either by explicit instruction or by knowing the likelihoods of memory items being old or new. A more implicit form of criterion manipulation, the false positive feedback (FPF) paradigm, can also induce adaptive criterion shifting over time via selective reinforcement of inaccurate, misleading feedback to memory judgments (Han & Dobbins, 2008). Recent findings suggest that strategic criterion shifting tendencies are incredibly stable within individuals as a unique cognitive trait (Layher, Dixit & Miller, 2020). Receptivity to the FPF paradigm has been scantly associated with several personality traits such as anxiety avoidance and reward seeking (Han, 2009), but no published studies to date have investigated whether individual differences in FPF-induced criterion shifting are stable in their own right.
In two experiments (one still in progress) carrying out a direct, within-persons comparison of criterion shifting tendencies via strategic and FPF task paradigms, we found that strategic and FPF-induced criterion shifting are moderately correlated within the same individuals. That is, individual who are more/less likely to move their criterion in a strategic context tend to exhibit similar tendencies in the FPF paradigm. Importantly, task performance appear similar on the group level when compared among distinct groups of participants (i.e. without accounting for individual differences). These results suggest that both strategic and FPF-induced criterion shifting may have been similarly driven by stable individual differences in criterion shifting tendencies, and that a between-subjects design alone may be insufficient for any future investigation comparing the efficacy of different criterion shifting task paradigms. Next steps to explore plausible dissociations between strategic (explicit) and FPF-induced (implicitly reinforced) criterion shifting mechanisms are discussed.