Source Retrieval Under Cueing: Dissociated Effects on Accuracy Versus Confidence

Antônio Jaeger, Morgana C. Queiroz, Diana Selmeczy, Ian G. Dobbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


During recognition memory decisions, external hints or cues alter the accuracy and confidence of correct rejections (valid > uncued > invalid). In contrast, although hits show analogous accuracy effects, hit confidence remains largely unaffected by cue validity. Prior research suggested this confidence validity dissociation (CVD) may depend upon the presence of recollection during hits. If so, confidence during other recollection dependent tasks such as source memory should show the same insensitivity to cue validity, despite clear changes in accuracy. We tested this in 5 source-memory experiments manipulating encoding location (left or right, Experiments 1, 2, and 5) or study list (first or second, Experiments 3 and 4). At test, memoranda were preceded by predictive arrow cues (75% valid/25% invalid) indicating the likely prior location or list of the source memory probe. Cue validity affected accuracy in all 5 Experiments. Nonetheless, mean confidence for both correct and incorrect source judgments was unaffected by cue validity. These data demonstrate that the subjective confidence of source attributions can become untethered from accuracy when external influences are present. Analyses of previously published recognition data elucidated this finding by showing that confidence is not affected by cue validity for items recognized as "old" regardless of accuracy (i.e., hits and false alarms). However, confidence is affected by cue validity for items judged "new" regardless of accuracy (i.e., correct rejections and misses). We suggest this dissociation depends upon the retrieval schemas and decision heuristics that observers use when concluding items arise from candidate experiences held in mind.


  • Confidence
  • Cueing
  • Memory
  • Schema
  • Source memory


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