Response conformity in recognition testing
Received: 01 May 1996 Accepted: 24 June 1996 DOI:
10.3758/BF03214550 Cite this article as: Schneider, D.M. & Watkins, M.J. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (1996) 3: 481. doi:10.3758/BF03214550 Abstract
In a recognition memory test for a just-studied word list, subjects responded positively or negatively to each test word in the presence of another subject, with the two taking turns to call out their responses. Responses given second tended to conform to those given first. This was so for responses to both targets and lures and following both positive and negative first responses, although the effect was sharply reduced for targets given a negative first response. The same pattern of results was obtained in a second experiment, in which an incognito confederate replaced one of the subjects and so brought one set of responses under full experimenter control. These experiments illustrate a powerful effect of social pressure on recognition responses.
This research was included in D.M.S.’s master’s thesis and was supported by National Institute of Health Grant MH35873. We thank M. Engstrom for her talented performance as the confederate, A. Yanez for help with the conduct and scoring of Experiment 2, and H. Roediger III for encouragement and helpful comments.
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