Implicit Memory and Metacognition

By Lynne M. Reder | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
In the Mind but Not on the Tongue: Feeling of Knowing in an Anomic Patient

Margaret Funnell Dartmouth College

Janet Metcalfe Columbia University

Kyrana Tsapkini Dartmouth College

Much psychological data converge on the idea that feeling-of-knowing judgments are based on subjects' quick assessment of the familiarity or the fluency of the retrieval cue. Consider a situation in which the subject cannot immediately retrieve the answer to a question or retrieve a word that completes a sentence. If the cue is highly familiar, the subject is likely to give a high feeling-of-knowing judgment to that cue. This high feeling of knowing is not based on retrieval of the answer, but rather on the familiarity of the cue. This judgment may be accurate or inaccurate. The cue may be familiar for a variety of reasons -- because it deals with a topic with which the subject is an aficionado, because it is a familiar topic to most people, or because the cue may have been made artificially familiar (by a previewing of some part of that cue, say). The heuristic of giving a high feeling-of-knowing rating if the cue is highly familiar and a low rating if the cue is unfamiliar, while not guaranteeing accuracy, will often have favorable predictive consequences for later recognition performance. In general, if one is an expert in a field, one will be able to distinguish the correct answer from the nonsense. The novice is much less likely to be able to do so. People generally have better success in those domains that they know well. Thus, if unable to immediately retrieve the name of the monetary unit of Nicaragua, the frequent traveler to Central America would and should probably give a higher feeling-of-knowing rating than the stayat-home. The former would also have a better chance than the latter of

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