skip to main content

Title: Framing effects in value-directed remembering
Abstract Changing how an issue is framed can influence both decision-making and metacognition, but framing a memory task in terms of gains and losses could also impact how learners prioritize information according to its value or importance. We investigated how framing task instructions and feedback in terms of gains and losses influences learners’ ability to selectively remember valuable information at the expense of low-value information. Specifically, we presented learners with to-be-remembered words paired with point values and either told participants how many points they scored (the sum of the values of recalled words) or lost (the sum of the values of not-recalled words) on each list, with participants’ goal being to maximize their scores or minimize their losses, respectively. Overall, participants were more selective for high-value words when their goals were framed in terms of point gains compared with when their goals were framed in terms of losses, and learners’ metacognitive predictions of performance (JOLs) generally mapped onto this trend. Thus, framing in terms of losses for forgetting can reduce memory selectivity, perhaps because even small losses are salient, indicating that framing effects are not limited to decision-making but can influence memory and metacognitive processes as well.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Memory & Cognition
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. We examined whether framing younger and older adults learning goals in terms of maximizing gains or minimizing losses impacts their ability to selectively remember high-value information. Specifically, we presented younger and older adults with lists of words paired with point values and participants were either told that they would receive the value associated with each word if they recalled it on a test or that they would lose the points associated with each word if they failed to recall it on the test. We also asked participants to predict the likelihood of recalling each word to deter- mine if younger and older adults were metacognitively aware of any potential framing effects. Results revealed that older adults expected to be more selective when their goals were framed in terms of losses, but younger adults expected to be more selective when their goals were framed in terms of gains. However, this was not the case as both younger and older adults were more selective for high-value informa- tion when their goals were framed in terms of maximizing gains compared with minimizing losses. Thus, the framing of learning goals can impact metacognitive decisions and subsequent memory in both younger and older adults. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Sleep loss has been shown to alter risk preference during decision-making. However, research in this area has largely focussed on the effects of total sleep deprivation (TSD), while evidence on the effects of sleep restriction (SR) or the potentially moderating role of sex on risk preference remains scarce and unclear. The present study investigated risky decision-making in 47 healthy young adults who were assigned to either of two counterbalanced protocols: well-rested (WR) and TSD, or WR and SR. Participants were assessed on the Lottery Choice Task (LCT), which requires a series of choices between two risky gambles with varying risk levels. Analyses on the pooled dataset indicated across all sleep conditions, participants were generally more risk-seeking when trying to minimise financial loss (LOSSES) than while trying to maximise financial gain (GAINS). On GAINS trials, female participants were more risk-averse during TSD and SR, whereas male participants remained unchanged. On LOSSES trials, female participants remained unchanged during TSD and SR, whereas male participants became more risk-seeking during TSD. Our findings suggest the relationship between sleep loss and risk preference is moderated by sex, whereby changes in risk preference after TSD or SR differ in men and women depending on whether the decision is framed in terms of gains or losses.

    more » « less
  3. Fernandes, Thiago P. (Ed.)
    Individuals typically prefer the freedom to make their own decisions. Yet, people often trade their own decision control (procedural utility) to gain economic security (outcome utility). Decision science has not reconciled these observations. We examined how decision-makers’ efficacy and security perceptions influence when, why, and how individuals exchange procedural and outcome utility. Undergraduate adults ( N = 77; M age = 19.45 years; 73% female; 62% Caucasian, 13% African American) were recruited from the psychology participant pool at a midwestern U.S. metropolitan university. Participants made financial decisions in easy and hard versions of a paid card task resembling a standard gambling task, with a learning component. During half the trials, they made decisions with a No-Choice Manager who controlled their decisions, versus a Choice Manager who granted decision control. The hard task was designed to be too difficult for most participants, undermining their efficacy and security, and ensuring financial losses. The No-Choice Manager was designed to perform moderately well, ensuring financial gains. Participants felt greater outcome satisfaction (utility) for financial gains earned via Choice, but not losses. Participants (85%) preferred the Choice manager in the easy task but preferred the No-Choice Manager (56%) in the hard task. This change in preference for choice corresponded with self-efficacy and was mediated by perceived security. We used Decision Field Theory to develop potential cognitive models of these decisions. Preferences were best described by a model that assumed decision-makers initially prefer Choice, but update their preference based on loss-dependent attentional focus. When they earned losses (hard task), decision-makers focused more on economic payoffs (financial security), causing them to deemphasize procedural utility. Losses competed for attention, pulling attention toward economic survivability and away from the inherent value of choice. Decision-makers are more likely to sacrifice freedom of choice to leaders they perceive as efficacious to alleviate perceived threats to economic security. 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    To efficiently learn and retain motor skills, we can introduce contextual interference through interleaved practice. Interleaving tasks or stimuli initially hinders performance but leads to superior long-term retention. It is not yet clear if implicitly learned information also benefits from interleaving and how interleaved practice changes the representation of skills. The present study used a serial reaction time task where participants practiced three 8-item sequences that were either interleaved or blocked on Day 1 (training) and Day 2 (testing). An explicit recall test allowed us to post-hoc sort participants into two groups of learners: implicit learners recalled less items than did explicit learners. Significant decreasing monotonic trends, indicating successful learning, were observed in both training groups and both groups of learners. We found support for the benefit of interleaved practice on retention of implicit sequence learning, indicating that the benefit of interleaved practice does not depend on explicit memory retrieval. A Bayesian Sequential Learning model was adopted to model human performance. Both empirical and computational results suggest that explicit knowledge of the sequence was detrimental to retention when the sequences were blocked, but not when they were interleaved, suggesting that contextual interference may be a protective factor of interference of explicit knowledge. Slower learning in the interleaved condition may result in better retention and reduced interference of explicit knowledge on performance. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract: 100 words Jurors are increasingly exposed to scientific information in the courtroom. To determine whether providing jurors with gist information would assist in their ability to make well-informed decisions, the present experiment utilized a Fuzzy Trace Theory-inspired intervention and tested it against traditional legal safeguards (i.e., judge instructions) by varying the scientific quality of the evidence. The results indicate that jurors who viewed high quality evidence rated the scientific evidence significantly higher than those who viewed low quality evidence, but were unable to moderate the credibility of the expert witness and apply damages appropriately resulting in poor calibration. Summary: <1000 words Jurors and juries are increasingly exposed to scientific information in the courtroom and it remains unclear when they will base their decisions on a reasonable understanding of the relevant scientific information. Without such knowledge, the ability of jurors and juries to make well-informed decisions may be at risk, increasing chances of unjust outcomes (e.g., false convictions in criminal cases). Therefore, there is a critical need to understand conditions that affect jurors’ and juries’ sensitivity to the qualities of scientific information and to identify safeguards that can assist with scientific calibration in the courtroom. The current project addresses these issues with an ecologically valid experimental paradigm, making it possible to assess causal effects of evidence quality and safeguards as well as the role of a host of individual difference variables that may affect perceptions of testimony by scientific experts as well as liability in a civil case. Our main goal was to develop a simple, theoretically grounded tool to enable triers of fact (individual jurors) with a range of scientific reasoning abilities to appropriately weigh scientific evidence in court. We did so by testing a Fuzzy Trace Theory-inspired intervention in court, and testing it against traditional legal safeguards. Appropriate use of scientific evidence reflects good calibration – which we define as being influenced more by strong scientific information than by weak scientific information. Inappropriate use reflects poor calibration – defined as relative insensitivity to the strength of scientific information. Fuzzy Trace Theory (Reyna & Brainerd, 1995) predicts that techniques for improving calibration can come from presentation of easy-to-interpret, bottom-line “gist” of the information. Our central hypothesis was that laypeople’s appropriate use of scientific information would be moderated both by external situational conditions (e.g., quality of the scientific information itself, a decision aid designed to convey clearly the “gist” of the information) and individual differences among people (e.g., scientific reasoning skills, cognitive reflection tendencies, numeracy, need for cognition, attitudes toward and trust in science). Identifying factors that promote jurors’ appropriate understanding of and reliance on scientific information will contribute to general theories of reasoning based on scientific evidence, while also providing an evidence-based framework for improving the courts’ use of scientific information. All hypotheses were preregistered on the Open Science Framework. Method Participants completed six questionnaires (counterbalanced): Need for Cognition Scale (NCS; 18 items), Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT; 7 items), Abbreviated Numeracy Scale (ABS; 6 items), Scientific Reasoning Scale (SRS; 11 items), Trust in Science (TIS; 29 items), and Attitudes towards Science (ATS; 7 items). Participants then viewed a video depicting a civil trial in which the defendant sought damages from the plaintiff for injuries caused by a fall. The defendant (bar patron) alleged that the plaintiff (bartender) pushed him, causing him to fall and hit his head on the hard floor. Participants were informed at the outset that the defendant was liable; therefore, their task was to determine if the plaintiff should be compensated. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 6 experimental conditions: 2 (quality of scientific evidence: high vs. low) x 3 (safeguard to improve calibration: gist information, no-gist information [control], jury instructions). An expert witness (neuroscientist) hired by the court testified regarding the scientific strength of fMRI data (high [90 to 10 signal-to-noise ratio] vs. low [50 to 50 signal-to-noise ratio]) and gist or no-gist information both verbally (i.e., fairly high/about average) and visually (i.e., a graph). After viewing the video, participants were asked if they would like to award damages. If they indicated yes, they were asked to enter a dollar amount. Participants then completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-Modified Short Form (PANAS-MSF; 16 items), expert Witness Credibility Scale (WCS; 20 items), Witness Credibility and Influence on damages for each witness, manipulation check questions, Understanding Scientific Testimony (UST; 10 items), and 3 additional measures were collected, but are beyond the scope of the current investigation. Finally, participants completed demographic questions, including questions about their scientific background and experience. The study was completed via Qualtrics, with participation from students (online vs. in-lab), MTurkers, and non-student community members. After removing those who failed attention check questions, 469 participants remained (243 men, 224 women, 2 did not specify gender) from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds (70.2% White, non-Hispanic). Results and Discussion There were three primary outcomes: quality of the scientific evidence, expert credibility (WCS), and damages. During initial analyses, each dependent variable was submitted to a separate 3 Gist Safeguard (safeguard, no safeguard, judge instructions) x 2 Scientific Quality (high, low) Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Consistent with hypotheses, there was a significant main effect of scientific quality on strength of evidence, F(1, 463)=5.099, p=.024; participants who viewed the high quality evidence rated the scientific evidence significantly higher (M= 7.44) than those who viewed the low quality evidence (M=7.06). There were no significant main effects or interactions for witness credibility, indicating that the expert that provided scientific testimony was seen as equally credible regardless of scientific quality or gist safeguard. Finally, for damages, consistent with hypotheses, there was a marginally significant interaction between Gist Safeguard and Scientific Quality, F(2, 273)=2.916, p=.056. However, post hoc t-tests revealed significantly higher damages were awarded for low (M=11.50) versus high (M=10.51) scientific quality evidence F(1, 273)=3.955, p=.048 in the no gist with judge instructions safeguard condition, which was contrary to hypotheses. The data suggest that the judge instructions alone are reversing the pattern, though nonsignificant, those who received the no gist without judge instructions safeguard awarded higher damages in the high (M=11.34) versus low (M=10.84) scientific quality evidence conditions F(1, 273)=1.059, p=.30. Together, these provide promising initial results indicating that participants were able to effectively differentiate between high and low scientific quality of evidence, though inappropriately utilized the scientific evidence through their inability to discern expert credibility and apply damages, resulting in poor calibration. These results will provide the basis for more sophisticated analyses including higher order interactions with individual differences (e.g., need for cognition) as well as tests of mediation using path analyses. [References omitted but available by request] Learning Objective: Participants will be able to determine whether providing jurors with gist information would assist in their ability to award damages in a civil trial. 
    more » « less