Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Immediate Judgments of Learning Are Insensitive to Implicit Interference Effects at Retrieval

Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Immediate Judgments of Learning Are Insensitive to Implicit Interference Effects at Retrieval

Article excerpt

Published online: 14 September 2011

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2011

Abstract We conducted three experiments to determine whether metamemory predictions at encoding, immediate judgments of learning (IJOLs) are sensitive to implicit interference effects that will occur at retrieval. Implicit interference was manipulated by varying the association set size of the cue (Experiments 1 and 2) or the target (Experiment 3). The typical finding is that memory is worse for large-set-size cues and targets, but only when the target is studied alone and later prompted with a related cue (extralist). When the pairs are studied together (intralist), recall is the same regardless of set size; set size effects are eliminated. Metamemory predictions at retrieval, such as delayed JOLs (DJOLs) and feeling-of-knowing (FOK) judgments accurately reflect implicit interference effects (e.g., Eakin & Hertzog, 2006. In all three experiments, we found that DJOLs and FOKs accurately predicted set size effects on retrieval but that IJOLs did not. The findings provide further evidence that metamemory predictions are inferred from information other than direct access to the state of the memory trace, as well as indicate that inferences are based on different sources depending on when in the memory process predictions are made.

Keywords Metamemory. Judgments of Learning . Associate Set Size . Interference

Theories of metacognitive monitoring emphasize that the accuracy of judgments about future memory depends on the accessibility and the diagnosticity of the cues that are accessed for future memory experiences (e.g., Dunlosky & Matvey, 2001; Dunlosky & Metcalfe, 2009; Koriat, 1993, 1997; Koriat & Bjork, 2006). Different kinds of cues are likely to be accessed at different stages of the process of learning and remembering (e.g., Finn & Metcalfe, 2008). T. O. Nelson and Narens (1990) proposed a framework of metacognitive monitoring and control involving three basic phases of learning and remembering: acquisition (or encoding), retention, and retrieval. Different kinds of metacognitive monitoring, made during each of these three stages, can inform control processes during those stages, such as selection of encoding strategies during acquisition or termination of search during retrieval.

The present study evaluated the sensitivity of metacognitive judgments to implicit interference effects at retrieval. Implicit interference was manipulated by varying the number of words associated with either the cue or the target, or associative set size (D. L. Nelson, McEvoy, & Schreiber, 1990). The purpose of the experiments was to examine whether metamemory predictions made at different stages in the memory process are sensitive to this kind of implicit interference. Three types of metamemory predictions were examined: immediate judgments of learning (IJOLs) made during encoding, delayed JOLs (DJOLs) made after encoding but prior to recall during the retention interval (sometimes also called predictions of knowing, or POKs; Schreiber & Nelson, 1998), and feelings of knowing (FOKs) made after attempted cued recall, or at retrieval. The rationale of the study was that implicit interference will not impact judgments at all stages of the memory process. Specifically, because implicit interference effects occur at retrieval, we expected IJOLs made at encoding to be insensitive to the effects of implicit interference, whereas DJOLs and FOKs should access retrieval outcomes that are influenced by implicit interference. In the following sections, we outline the basis of our theoretical argument after explicitly defining and describing the metacognitive judgments used in our study.

Metacognitive judgments

Metacognitive judgments are often made for pairedassociate items (e.g., bird-wings), in part because of their affordance for using the same cues for judgments and testing associative memory (e.g., cuing judgments and recall by presenting bird). …

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