Does distance affect memory predictions by activating beliefs about perceptual fluency
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People predict their future memory performance to be better for the perceptually fluent stimuli than for the disfluent ones. For instance, their memory confidence is higher for the words written in large fonts than small fonts (Rhodes and Castel, 2008). This effect was previously believed to stem from experiential difficulty in encoding of the disfluent stimuli. However, a recent study showed that, one’s beliefs and theories, rather than experiential difficulty, make the major contribution to the effect of perceptual fluency on people’s memory predictions (Mueller, Dunlosky, Tauber and Rhodes, 2014). The close relationship between spatial distance and perceptual fluency increases the likelihood that spatial distance affects people’s memory predictions in the absence of experiential difficulty. The present study investigated the effect of perceived spatial distance on people’s judgments of learning (JOLs) and actual memory performance in two experiments. The perceived spatial distance of stimuli was manipulated by showing the stimuli at either top or bottom positions on a scene with depth perspective. At the same time, the depth cue was expected to produce physical size illusion enabling comparing the effects of perceived spatial distance and perceived size on JOLs. Results revealed no effect of perceived spatial distance or perceived size on JOLs and memory performance when tested with words (Experiment 1) or objects (Experiment 2). The null results for perceived size and JOLs were believed to stem from the size differences within the stimuli.