Basic and Applied Memory Research: Practical Applications - Vol. 2

By Douglas J. Herrmann; Cathy McEvoy et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIFTEEN Individual Differences in Memory Style and Autobiographical Memory

Jerome R. Sehulster

University of Connecticut, Stamford

The study of metacognitive phenomena has occupied cognitive psychologists for well over a decade. Metamemory phenomena include various aspects of feeling of knowing ( Costermans, Lories, & Ansay, 1992; Eysenck, 1979), ease and degree of learning ( Leonesio & Nelson, 1990), and the experience of recall right on the tip of the tongue ( Wellman, 1977). Other metacognitive phenomena studied include aspects of reading ( Byrd & Gholson, 1985), mathematical reasoning, and problem solving (e.g., Metcalfe, 1986), in both laboratory and everyday settings. Flavell ( 1979) and others (e.g., Paris & Winograd, 1990) demonstrated that effective learning depends as much on metacognitive skills, such as a learning strategy, as it does on a more nuts- and-bolts aspect of memory, such as memory capacity.

In addition to widening perspectives on memory performance in the laboratory, the focus on metamemory has allowed the expansion of the study of memory from the laboratory into the realm of everyday life (e.g., Herrmann, 1982; Park, Smith, & Cavanaugh, 1990; Sehulster, 1981b). Individuals hold beliefs about their ability to perform in everyday situations involving memory. Beliefs about memory ability and the relationship of these beliefs to other phenomena from autobiographical memory form the body of this chapter on metamemory.

The composite of memory beliefs has been called a self-theory of memory ( Sehulster, 1981b) or, more generally, a "memory self-concept" ( Searleman & Herrmann, 1994). Individuals perceive themselves as performing better in some memory situations than they do in others. One person may perceive

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