I knew that answer before you told me ... didn't I? : subjective experience versus objective measures of the knew-it-all-along effect




Arnold, Michelle Marie.

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The knew-it-all-along (KIA) effect occurs when individuals report that they had previously known something that they learned only recently. Participants in a traditional KIA experiment first rate on a number scale the likelihood of one or more given responses being the correct answer for trivia-like questions (Phase 1); in the feedback phase they are shown the correct answers for a portion of the questions; and in the final phase they are asked to ignore the feedback and give the same number rating for each question that they had given in the first phase. Although several studies have shown that people often have difficulty retrospectively determining the level of knowledge they had prior to the occurrence of feedback, there is no research exploring the subjective experience of the effect. We incorporated a RememberIJust KnowIGuess judgment in a traditional (Experiment 1) and a modified-traditional (Experiment 2: 2-alternative-forcedchoice) KIA paradigm. In the modified paradigm the number scale was eliminated, and participants simply chose which of two response alternatives they believed to be the correct answer for each trivia question. Experiments 3 - 5 were similar in format to Experiments 1 and 2, but the trivia stimuli were replaced with word puzzles, which were expected to be better suited to inducing a feeling of having known it all along because answers to trivia questions typically seem arbitrary, whereas solutions to word puzzles give rise to ah-ha experiences. A typical KIA effect was observed in all five experiments, but evidence for an accompanying subjective feeling of knew-it-all-along was found only with word puzzle stimuli.