The relation between realism in confidence judgements and the phenomenological quality of recognition memory when using emotionally valenced pictures



The aim of the study was to investigate the relation between the phenomenological quality of memory (Tulving, 1985) and the realism (validity) in confidence judgement when using emotional pictures (I.A.P.S; Lang, Öhman, & Vaitl, 1988). A series of three experiments was completed where the participants judged the phenomenological quality of their memory and/or their confidence. The results showed facilitation for the negative pictures in a matrix search task in the encoding phase, where negative pictures were more easily and quickly detected, compared to positive ones. In the memory phase of the experiments a higher degree of recollective experience (a larger proportion of ‘remember’ responses) was found for negative pictures. A higher level of confidence for recognition of negative pictures than for positive ones was obtained, but no general valence dependent effect on the realism in the confidence judgement was found. However, when analysing only the remember responses, negative pictures showed higher overconfidence than the positive pictures. The results support that a recollective experience induces higher confidence and overconfidence. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.