Knowing Too Much: Expertise-Induced False Recall Effects in Product Comparison
A long history of research has shown that experts’ well-developed knowledge structures provide numerous advantages in memory-based decisions and tasks. More recently, research has shown that in certain situations experts’ more detailed knowledge can hinder memory performance by resulting in the creation of false memories. The current research adds to this growing literature by showing how experts can fall prey to a different type of false memory when making product comparisons. Four studies demonstrate that in a product comparison context, in their attempt to make options more comparable, experts inadvertently “fill in the gap” by aligning nonalignable features in memory. This results in the false recall of aligned features that did not appear in the original descriptions. Experts’ higher sense of accountability for their judgments, coupled with their highly developed schemata, is identified as the mechanism underlying the effect.
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