Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Framing Effects on Metacognitive Monitoring and Control

Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Framing Effects on Metacognitive Monitoring and Control

Article excerpt

Three experiments explored the contribution of framing effects on metamemory judgments. In Experiment 1, participants studied word pairs. After each presentation, they made an immediate judgment of learning (JOL), framed in terms of either remembering or forgetting. In the remember frame, participants made judgments about how likely it was that they would remember each pair on the upcoming test. In the forget frame, participants made judgments about how likely it was that they would forget each pair. Confidence differed as a result of the frame. Forget frame JOLs, equated to the remember frame JOL scale by a 1-judgment conversion, were lower and demonstrated a smaller overconfidence bias than did remember frame JOLs. When judgments were made at a delay, framing effects did not occur. In Experiment 2, people chose to restudy more items when choices were made within a forget frame. In Experiment 3, people studied Spanish-English vocabulary pairs ranging in difficulty. The framing effect was replicated with judgments and choices. Moreover, forget frame participants included more easy and medium items to restudy. These results demonstrated the important consequences of framing effects on assessment and control of study.

Although people are fairly accurate at assessing how well they have learned something, much research has shown that people's metacognitive judgments about their memory can be miscalibrated (Benjamin, Bjork, & Schwartz, 1998; Koriat, 1997; Koriat, Sheffer, & Ma'ayan, 2002; Metcalfe, 1998; Zechmeister & Shaughnessy, 1980). For example, people's initial judgments of learning (JOLs) about how much they think that they will remember on an upcoming test typically show an overconfidence bias in which, on average, the judgments are higher than subsequent test performance (Koriat, Lichtenstein, & Fischhoff, 1980; Lichtenstein, Fischhoff, & Phillips, 1982; Metcalfe, 1998). People have been shown to be so certain in their incorrect answers that they are even willing to bet money in the belief that they are correct (Fischhoff, Slovic, & Lichtenstein, 1977).

Judgment accuracy is also thought to have importance consequences for how people control their own learning. For example, an overconfident student may stop studying before actually mastering the material, resulting in a poor test score. As Nelson and Dunlosky (1991, p. 267) said, "The accuracy of JOLs is critical because if the JOLs are inaccurate, the allocation of subsequent study time will correspondingly be less than optimal." Recently, Metcalfe and Finn (2008) provided evidence that people's metacognitive judgments are linked directly to their choices for restudy, supporting the long held view that faulty metacognitive judgments can unfavorably affect study control (Benjamin et al., 1998; Dunlosky & Hertzog, 1998; Koriat, 2002; Mazzoni & Cornoldi, 1993; Metcalfe, 2002; Nelson & Dunlosky, 1991; Pressley & Ghatala, 1990; Thiede, 1999). Metcalfe and Finn showed that when people's JOLs were manipulated independently of their recall performance, study choices were influenced by the judgment rather than by the performance. When the judgments were biased, the study choices reflected the same pattern. These results demonstrated a direct link between metacognitive monitoring and control of learning and underscored the importance of judgment accuracy for achieving effective self-guided learning.

Metacognitive overconfidence most likely arises through the use of memory-based processing heuristics, such as an evaluation of the fluency of information retrieved or cue or domain familiarity, that become available when one is making a judgment (Glenberg, Wilkinson, & Epstein, 1982; Koriat, 1993; Koriat & Bjork, 2006; Metcalfe, 1998; Metcalfe, Schwartz, & Joaquim, 1993; Reder, 1987,1988; Tversky & Kahneman, 1974). According to Koriat et al. (1980), overconfidence occurs because people rely primarily on information that is consistent with the answer they have chosen and tend to neglect contradictory information. …

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