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Is there a survival processing effect in metacognition?

journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-01, 15:23 authored by Dilan Çabuk, Alper Yelimlieş, Çağlar Akçay, Terry Eskenazi
Memory systems serve an adaptive function for the fitness of organisms. A good example of this is the Survival Processing Effect (SPE) which points to increased retention of information when it is processed in a survival context compared to other contexts. Survival processing may also affect metacognitive processes, by increasing confidence judgments as well as increasing metacognitive sensitivity. No previous study, however, has directly examined whether processing information for survival also has an effect on metacognitive processes. Here we ask whether SPE extends to the metacognitive system in terms of both metacognitive sensitivity and confidence bias. In Experiment 1 participants were asked to rate a list of words in terms of relevance in a survival scenario or a moving scenario. In a surprise old/new recognition test, they were given one word at a time and asked to indicate if they have rated the presented word before and state how confident they are in that choice. Surprisingly, the results did not reveal a SPE, which may have been due to high overall performance in the recognition task. In Experiment 2 we increased the level of difficulty of the memory task, which resulted in a robust SPE, but could not find this effect in metacognitive monitoring. Together, these results suggest that survival processing may not affect metacognitive processes in a reliable fashion.


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Psychological Research




Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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  • eng

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Faculty of Science & Engineering

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