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Framing Effects in Value-Directed Remembering

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Framing effects in value-directed remembering


Dillon H. Murphy & Barbara J. Knowlton




ABSTRACT

Changing how an issue is framed can influence both decision making and metacognition but framing a memory task in terms of gains and losses could also impact how learners prioritize information according to its value or importance. We investigated how framing task instructions and feedback in terms of gains and losses influences learners’ ability to selectively remember valuable information at the expense of low-value information. Specifically, we presented learners with to-be-remembered words paired with point values and either told participants how many points they scored (the sum of the values of recalled words) or lost (the sum of the values of not-recalled words) on each list, with participants’ goal being to maximize their scores or minimize their losses, respectively. Overall, participants were more selective for high-value words when their goals were framed in terms of point gains compared with when their goals were framed in terms of losses, and learners’ metacognitive predictions of performance (JOLs) generally mapped onto this trend. Thus, framing in terms of losses for forgetting can reduce memory selectivity, perhaps because even small losses are salient, indicating that framing effects are not limited to decision making but can influence memory and metacognitive processes as well.

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