Implicit Memory and Metacognition

By Lynne M. Reder | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
Explicit and Implicit Memory Retrieval: Intentions and Strategie

Peter Graf Angela R. Birt University of British Columbia

The domain of metacognition is loosely defined as those aspects of knowledge and cognition that are about cognition (cf. Brown, 1987; Kluwe, 1987; Metcalfe & Shimamura, 1994). According to Brown ( 1987), "Knowledge about cognition [metaknowledge] refers to the stable, statable, often fallible, and often late developing information that human thinkers have about their own cognitive processes" (pp. 67-68) or about the cognitions of others. In his seminal writings on the topic, Flavell ( 1979, 1987) explained that metaknowledge can be about different things, most notably about tasks and strategies. Task knowledge includes an understanding of how attributes such as familiarity of materials, availability of cues, or speed instructions influence the manner in which a task might be carried out, or knowledge about the likelihood of being successful on the task. Knowledge of strategies includes an appreciation of their resource requirements and their effectiveness, as well as an understanding of which one might be most suitable for a particular situation. To the extent that such types of knowledge are statable or accessible to conscious awareness, they can be used to reflect on cognitive processing, to select optimal processing strategies, or to make decisions about the course of a mental activity (e.g., whether to start or terminate memory retrieval).

This chapter is about the metacognitive difference between intending to remember versus not intending to remember, and the difference between intending to learn and not intending to learn. The difference between implicit and explicit memory retrieval maps onto the first of these

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