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The confidence-accuracy relationship: Deepening our understanding of confidence and uncertainty


This dissertation builds upon our existing understanding of confidence, uncertainty, and their relationship to recognition memory accuracy. Its basic approach is to measure overt expressions of confidence in children and adults and to examine both the development of confidence and its relationship to memory accuracy. The work consists primarily of one review paper (Chapter 2) and three research papers (Chapters 3, 4 and 5) that each seek to deepen our understanding of confidence in a unique way. Chapter 2 reviews the existing literature on the confidence-accuracy relationship in children, both in developmental and eyewitness contexts. Chapter 3 provides new evidence for the emergence of a relationship between confidence and recognition memory accuracy during the preschool years. Chapter 4 tests for a confidence-accuracy relationship in adults using an eyewitness memory paradigm developed for children. Chapter 5 introduces a novel paradigm that uses disconfirming evidence (e.g. evidence that disconfirms a previously held hypothesis about the state of the world) to improve confidence scale use in preschool-aged children. This research expands our knowledge of how confidence develops, as well as how the relationship between confidence and memory accuracy changes between early childhood and adulthood.

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