Individual differences in forced-choice recognition memory: Partitioning contributions of recollection and familiarity

Ellen M. Migo, Joel R. Quamme, Selina Holmes, Andrew Bendell, Kenneth A. Norman, Andrew R. Mayes, Daniela Montaldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In forced-choice recognition memory, two different testing formats are possible under conditions of high target–foil similarity: Each target can be presented alongside foils similar to itself (forced-choice corresponding; FCC), or alongside foils similar to other targets (forced-choice noncorresponding; FCNC). Recent behavioural and neuropsychological studies suggest that FCC performance can be supported by familiarity whereas FCNC performance is supported primarily by recollection. In this paper, we corroborate this finding from an individual differences perspective. A group of older adults were given a test of FCC and FCNC recognition for object pictures, as well as standardized tests of recall, recognition, and IQ. Recall measures were found to predict FCNC, but not FCC performance, consistent with a critical role for recollection in FCNC only. After the common influence of recall was removed, standardized tests of recognition predicted FCC, but not FCNC performance. This is consistent with a contribution of only familiarity in FCC. Simulations show that a two-process model, where familiarity and recollection make separate contributions to recognition, is 10 times more likely to give these results than a single-process model. This evidence highlights the importance of recognition memory test design when examining the involvement of recollection and familiarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2189-2206
Number of pages18
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 26 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology
  • General Psychology


  • Familiarity
  • Memory
  • Recall
  • Recognition memory
  • Recollection


Dive into the research topics of 'Individual differences in forced-choice recognition memory: Partitioning contributions of recollection and familiarity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this