Strategic responding in false recognition tasks and the role of reasoning in memory
The DRM paradigm is widely used in false recognition research. In the task, participants study lists of thematically related words and often identify unstudied related items as being ‘old’; these responses are presumed to reflect basic memory processes. Across two experiments, we find evidence that people sometimes relied on non-memory/strategic responses based on the relatedness of the test cue when they believed it to be of discriminative value. In Exp 1, our modelling indicated that the subjective experience of true memory partially differs from that associated with responses towards unstudied related words. In Exp 2, false recognition increased when participants were given explicit knowledge of the thematic label for thematically ambiguous study lists. We discuss the natural role of reasoning in memory, and strategies to identify/reduce its influence in false recognition tasks to isolate the pure products of memory.