Australasian Mathematical Psychology Conference 2019

The relationship between memory and judgment: Do source memory errors influence retrospective evaluation?

Marton Kocsis
School of Psychological Science, The University of Western Australia
Simon Farrell
The University of Western Australia

We often use summary judgments of our past experiences to inform future choices, with these evaluations argued to rely on what we can remember about each experience at time of choice. If we are retrospectively evaluating multiple experiences from memory facilitate choice, do source memory errors (e.g., misattributing events from one particular experience to another) influence our evaluation of a target experience? We presented participants with 3 interleaved affective word-lists (coded by colour) that on average were either positive or negatively valenced, and we post-cued one word-list as the target list for which recall and pleasantness ratings were captured. While people were able to successfully recall some items from the target list with minimal non-target intrusions and pleasantness ratings were consistent with mean valence of the target list, patterns of recall were inconsistent with the ability of the valence of target list items to predict ratings which appears to argue against evaluation being based on recalled target list items. To further examine the relationship between memory and judgment, we compared models based of online evaluation that relies on the target-list items presented vs. retrieval-based evaluation based on target-list items recalled, and found that the retrieval-based model of evaluation was favoured by the data. One reconciliation of these seemingly contradictory results is that pleasantness ratings relied on the memory for evaluation of target list items which is retrieved independent of memory for the target list items themselves.