ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 6, Issue 2, 149-167, 2015
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Automatization and familiarity in repeated checking: A replication

Authors
  Eliane Dek - Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  Marcel van den Hout - Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  Catharina Giele - Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  Iris Engelhard - Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Volume 6, Issue 2, 2015, Pages 149-167
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5127/jep.045314

Abstract
Repetitive, compulsive-like checking of an object leads to reductions in memory confidence, vividness, and detail. Experimental research suggests that this is caused by increased familiarity with perceptual characteristics of the stimulus and automatization of the checking procedure (Dek, van den Hout, Giele, & Engelhard, 2014). This suggests that defamiliarization by modifying perceptual characteristics of the stimulus will result in de-automatization and attenuation of the meta-memory effects. However, this was not found (Dek et al., 2014), but the manipulation may have been too weak.
In two experiments, the present investigation examined whether modification of the defamiliarization procedure (i.e., enlarging the amount of color alterations of the stimuli) would result in de-automatization and attenuation of the metamemory effects. Undergraduates performed a checking task, in which they activated, de-activated, and checked stimuli. Meta-memory was rated after a pre- and post-test checking trial. Simultaneously, automatization of checking was measured with a reaction time task during the pre- and post-test checking trial. In the reaction time task participants responded as quickly as possible to tones. In both experiments, perseverative checking reduced memory confidence, vividness, and detail, and led to automatization of checking behavior. In Experiment I, moderate defamiliarization led to de-automatization, but did not attenuate meta-memory effects of checking. In Experiment II, strong defamiliarization did not lead to de-automatization, but did reduce the detrimental effects of re-checking on memory confidence and vividness. This research suggests that automatization is a potential mechanism underlying the paradoxical phenomenon of perseveration leading to memory uncertainty.

Table of Contents
Introduction
 Ironic effects of perseveration
 Explanation of ironic effects: familiarity and automatization
 Data on familiarity and automatization
 Data on defamiliarization and de-automatization
 Present study
Experiment I
 Method
  Participants
  Procedure and computer task
 Assessments
  Data modification
  Statistical analyses
 Results
  Experimental conditions
  Memory accuracy
  Memory confidence, vividness and detail
  Check duration
  Reaction times: Rapid Interval Repetition (RIR) task
 Discussion
Experiment II
 Method
  Participants
  Procedure and computer task
  Assessments
  Data modification
  Statistical analyses
 Results
  Experimental conditions
  Memory accuracy
  Memory confidence, vividness and detail
  Check duration
  Reaction times: Rapid Interval Repetition (RIR) task
 Discussion
General Discussion
 Main findings
 Limitations and future directions
 Theoretical and clinical implications
Acknowledgements
References

Correspondence to
Eliane Dek, MSc. Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.140, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Keywords
Repeated checking; Memory uncertainty; Familiarity; Automatization; Defamiliarization; Obsessivecompulsive disorder

Dates
Received 1 Aug 2014; Revised 1 Oct 2014; Accepted 8 Nov 2014; In Press 8 Jul 2015









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