, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 158-163

The role of unconscious memory errors in judgments of confidence for sentence recognition


The present experiment tested the hypothesis that unconscious reconstructive memory processing can lead to the breakdown of the relationship between memory confidence and memory accuracy. Participants heard deceptive schema-inference sentences and nondeceptive sentences and were tested with either simple or forced-choice recognition. The nondeceptive items showed a positive relation between confidence and accuracy in both simple and forced-choice recognition. However, the deceptive items showed a strong negative confidence/accuracy relationship in simple recognition and a low positive relationship in forced choice. The mean levels of confidence for erroneous responses for deceptive items were inappropriately high in simple recognition but lower in forced choice. These results suggest that unconscious reconstructive memory processes involved in memory for the deceptive schema-inference items led to inaccurate confidence judgments and that, when participants were made aware of the deceptive nature of the schema-inference items through the use of a forced-choice procedure, they adjusted their confidence accordingly.