Age and response bias: evidence from the strength-based mirror effect.

Criss, AH
Aue, W
Kılıç Özhan, Aslı
Performance in episodic memory is determined both by accurate retrieval from memory and by decision processes. A substantial body of literature suggests slightly poorer episodic memory accuracy for older than younger adults; however, age-related changes in the decision mechanisms in memory have received much less attention. Response bias, the willingness to endorse an item as remembered, is an important decision factor that contributes to episodic memory performance, and therefore understanding age-related changes in response bias is critical to theoretical development. We manipulate list strength in order to investigate two aspects of response bias. First, we evaluate whether criterion placement in episodic memory differs for older and younger adults. Second, we ask whether older adults have the same degree of flexibility to adjust the criterion in response to task demands as younger adults. Participants were tested on weakly and strongly encoded lists where word frequency (Experiment 1) or similarity between targets and foils (Experiment 2) was manipulated. Both older and younger adults had higher hit rates and lower false-alarm rates for strong lists than for weak lists (i.e., a strength-based mirror effect). Older adults were more conservative (less likely to endorse an item as studied) than younger adults, and we found no evidence that older and younger adults differ in their ability to flexibly adjust their criterion based on the demands of the task.

Citation Formats
A. Criss, W. Aue, and A. Kılıç Özhan, “Age and response bias: evidence from the strength-based mirror effect.,” Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006), vol. 67, pp. 1910–24, 2014, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: