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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Source memory is our ability to relate central information (the “item”) to the context (the “source”) in which it was learned or experienced. People are often highly confident in their source judgements even when this information is incorrectly recalled. Past work has aimed to explain why source errors made with high confidence occur with a framework called the Converging Criteria (CC) account. The CC account posits that item memory can interact with source memory by altering decision criteria as item confidence increases, increasing the probability of a high confidence source judgement. This prediction differs from alternate models, like the Fixed Criteria (FC) account, where decision criteria are not expected to change with item confidence. The current study not only tests the implications of the CC account, but contrasts it to the predictions of the FC account relative to item memory, item confidence, and source discriminability, using existing data from 12 recognition memory experiments. We use a Bayesian Hierarchical model to estimate a key metric called the Item Confidence Effect (ICE) - the change in the proportion of source errors made with high confidence as item confidence increases. Results show a positive ICE, demonstrating that the proportion of source errors made with high confidence increases with item confidence, as predicted by the CC account. In the context of memory, this evidence shows that decision processes can influence behavior, regardless if evidence in memory supports it or not.


First Advisor

Jeffrey Starns

Second Advisor

Rosemary Cowell

Third Advisor

Rebecca Spencer

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.