Predicting the future and reconstructing the past: A Bayesian characterization of the utility of subjective fluency

Aaron S. Benjamin, Robert A. Bjork, Elliot Hirshman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The subjective sense of fluency with which an item can be perceived or remembered is proposed to be a vital cue in making decisions about the future memorability and the nature of our past experience with that stimulus. We first outline a number of cases in which such perceptual or retrieval fluency influences judgments both about our own future performance and our likely past experience, and then present a Bayesian analysis of how judgments of recognition - deciding whether or not a currently viewed item was studied at a particular point in the past - may incorporate information about the perceptual fluency of that item. Using a simple mathematical model, we then provide an interpretation of certain enigmatic phenomena in recognition memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-290
Number of pages24
JournalActa Psychologica
Volume98
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Mar 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Metamemory
  • Perceptual fluency
  • Recognition memory
  • Retrieval fluency
  • Subjective fluency
  • Word-frequency effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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