On each trial of the experimental procedure the participant read a list of words and made successive recognition judgements to multiple test words. The bias for a given recognition judgement was more conservative if the judgement followed a correct positive response to a target than if it followed a correct negative response to a lure. Similar results were not observed for successive semantic recognition judgements. The bias shift was greater when the study list was short than when the list was long. The results suggest that participants in a recognition task have a sense of the size of the set of targets that might possibly be presented on the next trial and that, under conditions in which a word can only be presented once during the test phase, their bias becomes more conservative after a positive response to a target because the set is depleted.
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