The effect of testing procedure on remember-know judgments

Psychon Bull Rev. 2002 Mar;9(1):139-45. doi: 10.3758/bf03196270.


Remember-know (R-K) judgments are commonly used to assess conscious recollection of the study episode during recognition. We varied whether participants judged items as R, K, or new (one-step) or first made an old-new judgment and then made the R-K judgment (two-step). The one-step group had a higher R hit rate and K false alarm rate than did the two-step group. In addition, the K responses of the one-step group did not reliably discriminate between old and new items. When a "guess" response category was available, both groups were able to discriminate old and new items using the K response; however, K responses remained more accurate in the two-step condition. R responses appeared to be relatively immune to the effects of testing procedure when the guess category was provided. This suggests that, under some conditions, the R label can reliably indicate a distinct form of recognition memory, suggesting that allowing participants to use a guess response may help them to confine their R-Kjudgments to confidently recognized items. When participants are not given the option of making a guess response, they may use the R-K distinction to indicate the trace strength of the memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition*
  • Humans
  • Judgment*
  • Memory*
  • Psychological Tests*