Threshold- and signal-detection-based models have dominated theorizing about recognition memory. Building upon these theoretical frameworks, we have argued for a dual-process model in which conscious recollection and familiarity contribute to memory performance. In the current paper we assessed several memory models by examining the effects of levels of processing and the number of presentations on recognition memory receiver operating characteristics . In general, when the ROCs were plotted in probability space they exhibited an inverted U shape; however, when they were (...) plotted inzspace they exhibited a U shape. An examination of the ROCs showed that the dual-process model could account for the observed ROCs, but that models based solely on either threshold or signal-detection processes failed to provide a sufficient account of the data. Furthermore, an examination of subjects' introspective reports using the remember/know procedure showed that subjects were aware of recollection and familiarity and were able to consistently report on their occurrence. The remember/know data were used to accurately predict the shapes of the ROCs, and estimates of recollection and familiarity derived from the ROC data mirrored the subjective reports of these processes. (shrink)
Recollection is sometimes automatic in that details of a prior encounter with an item come to mind although those details are irrelevant to a current task. For example, when asked about the size of the type in which an item was earlier presented, one might automatically recollect the location in which it was presented. We used the process dissociation procedure to show that such noncriterial recollection can function as familiarity—its effects were independent of intended recollection.
Aggleton & Brown argue that a hippocampal-anterior thalamic system supports the “recollection” of contextual information about previous events, and that a separate perirhinal-medial dorsal thalamic system supports detection of stimulus “familiarity.” Although there is a growing body of human literature that is in agreement with these claims, when recollection and familiarity have been examined in amnesics using the process dissociation or the remember/know procedures, the results do not seem to provide consistent support. We reexamine these studies and describe the results (...) of an additional experiment using a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) technique. The results of the reanalysis and the ROC experiment are consistent with Aggleton & Brown's proposal. Patients with damage to both regions exhibit severe deficits in recollection and smaller, but consistent, deficits in familiarity. (shrink)