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A dynamic model of deciding not to choose


Reynolds, AR and Garton, R and Kvam, P and Sauer, J and Osth, A and Heathcote, A, A dynamic model of deciding not to choose, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General ISSN 0096-3445 (In Press) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2020 American Psychological Association


We propose a dynamic theory of decisions not to choose which of two options is correct. Such "donít-know" judgements are of theoretical and practical importance in domains ranging from comparative psychology, psychophysics, episodic memory and metacognition to applied areas including educational testing and eyewitness testimony. However, no previous theory has provided a detailed quantitative account of the time it takes to make both definitive and don'tknow responses and their relative frequencies. We tested our theory, the "Multiple Threshold Race" (MTR), in one recognition memory experiment where participants had to pick a previously studied target out of two similar faces and another where targets and lures were tested one at a time. In both experiments we manipulated similarity through face morphing. High similarity made decisions difficult, encouraging don't-know responses. We also tested the MTRís ability to account for other manipulations that aimed to affect the speed and probability of don'tknow responses, including increasing penalties for making an error (with no penalty for a don'tknow response) and emphasising either response speed or accuracy. We found that there were marked individual differences in don't-know use, and that the MTR was able to account for the intricate pattern of effects associated with our manipulations, both on average and in terms of individual differences. We discuss how estimates of MTRís parameters illuminate the psychological mechanisms that govern the interplay between definitive and don't-know responding.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Cognitive and computational psychology
Research Field:Decision making
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in psychology
UTAS Author:Reynolds, AR (Mr Angus Reynolds)
UTAS Author:Garton, R (Mr Roderick Garton)
UTAS Author:Sauer, J (Dr Jim Sauer)
UTAS Author:Heathcote, A (Professor Andrew Heathcote)
ID Code:137930
Year Published:In Press
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2020-03-16
Last Modified:2020-07-24

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