False memories and statistical decision theory: comment on Miller and Wolford (1999) and Roediger and McDermott (1999)

Psychological review

PubMedID: 10789202

Wickens TD, Hirshman E. False memories and statistical decision theory: comment on Miller and Wolford (1999) and Roediger and McDermott (1999). Psychol Rev. 2000;107(2):377-83.
In an analysis of H. L. Roediger and K. B. McDermott's (1995) false-memory paradigm, M. B. Miller and G. L. Wolford (1999) argued that falsely recognized items occur because a bias toward calling such items "old" is created by their membership in a studied category. This interpretation was contested by Roediger and McDermott (1999). The authors of this article approach this issue as a statistical decision problem and observe that an explanation of false memory based on stored strengths and one based on decision process can have identical implications for data. Problems with equivalent formal models of this type can frequently be resolved by looking at the effects of other variables on the fitted estimates. The authors illustrate this analysis by examining the effects of presentation duration on the parameter estimates produced by models that instantiate the 2 explanations. Although the question remains open, the storage-based interpretation was found to be somewhat more plausible.