Is Discriminability a Requirement For Reactivity? Comparing the Effects of Mixed vs. Pure List Presentations On Judgment of Learning Reactivity

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Providing judgments of learning (JOLs) at study tends to produce reactive effects on recall of cue–target word pairs. This reactivity generally produces memory improvements (i.e., positive reactivity) but only for related word pairs. For unrelated pairs, reactivity is typically not observed. Researchers have primarily investigated reactivity using study lists that contain at least two distinct pair types (i.e., related vs. unrelated pairs). Using these mixed lists, reactivity may occur because participants use distinguishing pair characteristics to inform their study goals (i.e., prioritizing related vs. unrelated pairs). The present study examined whether detection of separate pair types within mixed lists is a requisite for reactivity to occur. Experiment 1 replicated previous work showing that in mixed lists, JOLs produced positive reactivity on related pairs but are nonreactive on unrelated pairs. Importantly, Experiment 1 also found that these patterns extended to pure lists, in which only one pair type is presented. Experiments 2 and 3 then extended these patterns to backward and symmetrical paired associates. Finally, across experiments, reactivity patterns reported for JOLs extended to frequency of co-occurrence judgments across pair and list types. Our findings that reactivity patterns consistently emerge using pure lists supports a cue-strengthening account of reactivity.

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Memory & Cognition

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