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Tracing the path of forgetting in rule abstraction and exemplar retrieval


Hoffmann, Janina A; von Helversen, Bettina; Weilbächer, Regina A; Rieskamp, Jörg (2018). Tracing the path of forgetting in rule abstraction and exemplar retrieval. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(11):2261-2281.

Abstract

People often forget acquired knowledge over time such as names of former classmates. Which knowledge people can access, however, may modify the judgement process and affect judgement accuracy. Specifically, we hypothesised that judgements based on retrieving past exemplars from long-term memory may be more vulnerable to forgetting than remembering rules that relate the cues to the criterion. Experiment 1 systematically tracked the individual course of forgetting from initial learning to later tests (immediate, 1 day, and 1 week) in a linear judgement task facilitating rule-based strategies and a multiplicative judgement task facilitating exemplar-based strategies. Practising the acquired judgement strategy in repeated tests helped participants to consistently apply the learnt judgement strategy and retain a high judgement accuracy even after a week. Yet, whereas a long retention interval did not affect judgements in the linear task, a long retention interval impaired judgements in the multiplicative task. If practice was restricted as in Experiment 2, judgement accuracy suffered in both tasks. In addition, after a week without practice, participants tried to reconstruct their judgements by applying rules in the multiplicative task. These results emphasise that the extent to which decision makers can still retrieve previously learned knowledge limits their ability to make accurate judgements and that the preferred strategies change over time if the opportunity for practice is limited.

Abstract

People often forget acquired knowledge over time such as names of former classmates. Which knowledge people can access, however, may modify the judgement process and affect judgement accuracy. Specifically, we hypothesised that judgements based on retrieving past exemplars from long-term memory may be more vulnerable to forgetting than remembering rules that relate the cues to the criterion. Experiment 1 systematically tracked the individual course of forgetting from initial learning to later tests (immediate, 1 day, and 1 week) in a linear judgement task facilitating rule-based strategies and a multiplicative judgement task facilitating exemplar-based strategies. Practising the acquired judgement strategy in repeated tests helped participants to consistently apply the learnt judgement strategy and retain a high judgement accuracy even after a week. Yet, whereas a long retention interval did not affect judgements in the linear task, a long retention interval impaired judgements in the multiplicative task. If practice was restricted as in Experiment 2, judgement accuracy suffered in both tasks. In addition, after a week without practice, participants tried to reconstruct their judgements by applying rules in the multiplicative task. These results emphasise that the extent to which decision makers can still retrieve previously learned knowledge limits their ability to make accurate judgements and that the preferred strategies change over time if the opportunity for practice is limited.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 November 2018
Deposited On:13 Jun 2018 13:12
Last Modified:27 Oct 2018 01:02
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1747-0218
Additional Information:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in " Verknüpfungsoperator für The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology" on 01.01.2018, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1177/1747021817739861
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1747021817739861
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100014_146169
  • : Project TitleModeling Human Judgment: Integrating Memory and Rule-based Processes

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