Are regulatory strategies necessary in the regulation of accuracy? The effect of direct-access answers
Abstract Previous studies have shown that, when people asked to retrieve something from memory have the chance to regulate memory accuracy, the accuracy of their final report increases. Such regulation of accuracy can be made through one of several strategies: the report option, the grain-size op- tion, or the plurality option. However, sometimes an answer can be directly accessed and reported without resorting to such strategies. The direct-access answers are expected to be fast, have high accuracy, and be rated with high probabilities of being correct. Thus, direct-access answers alone could explain the increase of accuracy that has been considered the outcome of regulatory strategies. If so, regulatory strategies may not be needed to explain the previous results. In two experiments, we disentangled the effects of direct-access answers and regula- tory strategies in the increase of accuracy. We identified a subset of direct-access answers, and then examined the regu- lation of accuracy with the plurality option when they were removed. Participants answered questions with six (Exp. 1) or five (Exp. 2) alternatives. Their task was, first, to select as many alternatives as they wanted and, second, to select only two or four alternatives. The results showed that the direct- access answer affected the regulation of accuracy and made it easier. However, the results also showed that regulatory strat- egies, in this case the plurality option, are needed to explain why the accuracy of final report increases after successful regulation. This research highlighted the relevance of taking direct-access answers into account in the study of the regula- tion of accuracy.