Evaluating models of recognition memory using first- and second-choice responses

David Kellen, Karl Christoph Klauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Swets, Tanner Jr., and Birdsall (1961) proposed a 4-alternative forced-choice task with two choices (4AFC-2R) for distinguishing between the Equal-Variance Signal Detection model and the One-High Threshold model. This task was recently implemented in the field of recognition memory (Parks & Yonelinas, 2009), a field in which several candidate models have been proposed. One advantage of the 4AFC-2R task is that it permits parameter estimation and goodness of fit testing, something which so far was only possible through the use of Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) functions for the more complex candidate models. The present article provides a thorough characterization and comparison of the main recognition memory models in the context of this task. Results are illustrated by a reanalysis of Parks and Yonelinas' original data, revealing a preference for hybrid approaches to recognition memory, more specifically for the dual-process model (Yonelinas, 1997), whereas pure signal detection models performed poorly. The present analysis provides an assessment of the merits and limitations of this task, highlighting future research applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-266
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Mathematical Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Discrete-state models
  • Hybrid models
  • Recognition memory
  • Second-choice responses
  • Signal detection theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Applied Mathematics


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