Metacognitive Judgments & Monitoring Article List

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Hines, J. C., Hertzog, C., & Touron, D. R. (2015). Younger and older adults weigh multiple cues in a similar manner to generate judgments of learning.  Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 22, 693-711.

ABSTRACT: Ones memory for past test performance (MPT) is a key piece of information individuals use when deciding how to restudy material. We used a multi-trial recognition memory task to examine adult age differences in the influence of MPT (measured by actual Trial 1 memory accuracy and subjective confidence judgments, CJs) along with Trial 1 judgments of learning (JOLs), objective and participant-estimated recognition fluencies, and Trial 2 study time on Trial 2 JOLs. We found evidence of simultaneous and independent influences of multiple objective and subjective (i.e., metacognitive) cues on Trial 2 JOLs, and these relationships were highly similar for younger and older adults. Individual differences in Trial 1 recognition accuracy and CJs on Trial 2 JOLs indicate that individuals may vary in the degree to which they rely on each MPT cue when assessing subsequent memory confidence. Aging appears to spare the ability to access multiple cues when making JOLs.

External Link: doi: 10.1080/13825585.2015.1028884


Ariel, R., Hines, J. C., & Hertzog, C. (2014). Test framing generates a stability bias for predictions of learning by causing people to discount their learning beliefs. Journal of Memory and Language, 75, 181-198.

ABSTRACT: People estimate minimal changes in learning when making predictions of learning (POLs) for future study opportunities despite later showing increased performance and an awareness of that increase (Kornell & Bjork, 2009). This phenomenon is conceptualized as a stability bias in judgments about learning. We investigated the malleability of this effect, and whether it reflected people’s underlying beliefs about learning. We manipulated prediction framing to emphasize the role of testing vs. studying on memory and directly measured beliefs about multi-trial study effects on learning by having participants construct predicted learning curves before and after the experiment. Mean POLs were more sensitive to the number of study-test opportunities when performance was framed in terms of study benefits rather than testing benefits and POLs reflected pre-existing beliefs about learning. The stability bias is partially due to framing and reflects discounted beliefs about learning benefits rather than inherent belief in the stability of performance.

External Link: doi: 10.1016/j.jml.2014.06.003


Eakin, D. K., Hertzog, C., & Harris, W. (2014).  Age invariance in semantic and episodic metamemory: Both younger and older adults provide accurate feeling-of-knowing for names of faces.  Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 21, 27-51.

ABSTRACT: Age differences in feeling-of-knowing (FOK) accuracy were examined for both episodic memory and semantic memory. Younger and older adults either viewed pictures of famous faces (semantic memory) or associated non-famous faces and names (episodic memory) and were tested on their memory for the name of the presented face. Participants viewed the faces again and made a FOK prediction about future recognition of the name associated with the presented face. Finally, four-alternative forced-choice recognition memory for the name, cued by the face, was tested and confidence judgments (CJs) were collected for each recognition response. Age differences were not obtained in semantic memory or the resolution of semantic FOKs, defined by within-person correlations of FOKs with recognition memory performance. Although age differences were obtained in level of episodic memory, there were no age differences in the resolution of episodic FOKs. FOKs for correctly recognized items correlated reliably with CJs for both types of materials, and did not differ by age group. The results indicate age invariance in monitoring of retrieval processes for name–face associations.

External Link: doi: 10.1080/13825585.2013.775217


Hertzog, C., Fulton, E. K., Sinclair, S. M., & Dunlosky, J. (2014).  Recalled aspects of original encoding strategies influence episodic feelings of knowing.  Memory & Cognition, 42, 126-140.

ABSTRACT: We tested the hypothesis that the feeling of knowing (FOK) after a failed recall attempt is influenced by recalling aspects of the original encoding strategy. Individuals were instructed to use interactive imagery to encode unrelated word pairs. We manipulated item concreteness (abstract vs. concrete) and item repetitions at study (one vs. three). Participants orally described the mediator produced immediately after studying each item, if any. After a delay, they were given cued recall, made FOK ratings, and attempted to recall their original mediator. Concreteness and item repetition enhanced strategy recall, which had a large effect on FOKs. Controlling on strategy recall reduced the predictive validity of FOKs for recognition memory, indicating that access to the original aspects of encoding influenced FOK accuracy. Confidence judgments (CJs) for correctly recognized items covaried with FOKs, but FOKs did not fully track the strategy recall associations with CJs, suggesting emergent effects of strategy cues that were elicited by recognition tests but not accessed at the time of the FOK judgment. In summary, cue-generated access to aspects of the original encoding strategy strongly influenced episodic FOKs, although other influences were also implicated.

External Link: doi: 10.3758/s13421-013-0348-z


Hertzog, C., Hines, J. C., & Touron, D. R. (2013). Judgments of learning are influenced by multiple cues in addition to memory for past test accuracy.  Archives of Scientific Psychology, 1, 23-32.

ABSTRACT: When people try to learn new information (e.g., in a school setting), they often have multiple opportunities to study the material. One of the most important things to know is whether people adjust their study behavior on the basis of past success so as to increase their overall level of learning (e.g., by emphasizing information they have not yet learned). Monitoring their learning is a key part of being able to make those kinds of adjustments. We used a recognition memory task to replicate prior research showing that memory for past test outcomes influences later monitoring, as measured by judgments of learning (JOLs; confidence that the material has been learned), but also to show that subjective confidence in whether the test answer and the amount of time taken to restudy the items also have independent effects on JOLs. We also show that there are individual differences in the effects of test accuracy and test confidence on JOLs, showing that some but not all people use past test experiences to guide monitoring of their new learning. Monitoring learning is therefore a complex process of considering multiple cues, and some people attend to those cues more effectively than others. Improving the quality of monitoring performance and learning could lead to better study behaviors and better learning.

External Link: doi: 10.1037/arc0000003


Eakin, D. K., & Hertzog, C. (2012). Age invariance in feeling of knowing during implicit interference effects.  Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 67B, P555-P562.

Objectives. Prior research found age invariance in accuracy of delayed judgments of learning accuracy (Eakin, D. K., & Hertzog, C. [2006]. Release from implicit interference in memory and metamemory: Older adults know that they can’t let go. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 61, 340–347). We tested whether aging affects accuracy of feeling of knowing (FOK) predictions under implicit interference. Discrepancies in the literature suggest that FOKs sometimes are and sometimes are not affected by aging. In addition, because the effects of implicit interference are different on recognition than on recall, older adults may have difficulty ignoring the impact of interference on recall in order to accurately predict the lack of interference effects on recognition.

Method. Younger and older adults studied cue-target pairs and cue set size varied. After a cued recall test, they made FOKs about future recognition of the target given the cue and then took a recognition test.

Results. Neither younger nor older adults were able to predict recognition of unrecalled items. FOKs were more correlated with recall than with recognition for both age groups. Although both recall and recognition varied with age, no age differences were obtained in FOK accuracy.

Discussion. FOK accuracy was not impaired with age, even when memory was. FOKs of both younger and older adults reflected implicit interference effects in recall, not recognition.

External Link: doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbr150


Eakin, D. K., & Hertzog, C. (2012). Immediate judgments of learning are insensitive to implicit interference effects at retrieval. Memory & Cognition, 40, 8-18.

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.

External Link: doi: 10.3758/s13421-011-1038-4


Hertzog, C., & Dunlosky, J. (2011). Metacognition in later adulthood: Spared monitoring can benefit older adults’ self-regulation. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 167-173.

ABSTRACT: Metacognition includes two key concepts: monitoring of internal states and adaptive use of control strategies based on that monitoring. We review studies that indicate that aging does not materially affect the accuracy of elementary forms of monitoring encoding and retrieval states in episodic-memory tasks, even though it does influence episodic memory itself. Spared monitoring accuracy can therefore serve as a basis for older adults’ use of compensatory strategies to achieve learning goals despite the influence of aging on mechanisms of learning. Metacognitive-intervention studies based on this premise show greater effects on learning than do traditional strategy-training approaches. Use of strategies for self-regulation, informed by monitoring, may be an important tool for older adults’ effective cognitive functioning in everyday life.

External Link: PMID:24478539


Hertzog, C., Dunlosky, J., & Sinclair, S. M. (2010). Episodic feeling-of-knowing resolution derives from the quality of original encoding. Memory & Cognition, 38, 771-784.

ABSTRACT: Recent studies have argued for adult age-related deficits in the resolution of episodic feeling-of-knowing (FOK) owing to decline in inferential processes. We introduce the memory-constraint hypothesis, which argues that deficits are an outcome of differences in level of learning. A repetition-delay paradigm for a list of paired-associate items showed that repeated presentations at encoding increased memory performance and in turn increased FOK resolution for unrecalled items. Older adults given a 48 hour delay between encoding and subsequent tests (and FOKs) had equivalent memory performance to younger adults given a 7-day delay. In this case, age-equivalence arose in FOK resolution except at the lowest levels of recognition in the single-presentation condition. Use of effective strategies during encoding correlated with memory performance and FOKs, even for unrecalled pairs. These results are inconsistent with an inferential-deficit explanation of age deficits in FOK resolution, point to the importance of original encoding quality as a potent contributor to FOK resolution, and argue for equating age groups on memory performance when evaluating age differences episodic FOK resolution.

External Link: doi: 10.3758/MC.38.6.771


Touron, D. R., Hertzog, C., & Speagle, J. Z. (2010). Subjective learning discounts test type: Evidence from an associative learning and transfer task. Experimental Psychology, 57, 327-337.

ABSTRACT: We evaluated the extent to which memory test format and test transfer influence the dynamics of metacognitive judgments. Participants completed 2 study-test phases for paired-associates, with or without transferring test type, in one of four conditions: (1) recognition then recall, (2) recall then recognition, (3) recognition throughout, or (4) recall throughout. Global judgments were made pre-study, post-study, and post-test for each phase; judgments of learning (JOLs) following item study were also collected. Results suggest that metacognitive judgment accuracy varies substantially by memory test type. Whereas underconfidence in JOLs and global predictions increases with recall practice (Koriat’s underconfidence-with-practice effect), underconfidence decreases with recognition practice. Moreover, performance changes when transferring test type were not fully anticipated by pre-test judgments.

External Link: doi: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000039



Baker, J. M. C., Dunlosky, J., & Hertzog, C. (2010). How accurately can older adults evaluate the quality of their text recall? The effect of feedback on term-specific judgment accuracy. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24, 134-147.

ABSTRACT: Adults of all ages have difficulties accurately judging how well they have learned text materials; unfortunately, such low levels of metacomprehension accuracy may obscure age-related deficits. Higher levels of relative accuracy have been obtained when younger adults make postdictions about which test questions they had answered correctly. Accordingly, we focus on the accuracy of postdictive judgments to evaluate whether age-related deficits would emerge with higher levels of accuracy and whether people’s postdictive accuracy would benefit from feedback. Participants read texts with definitions embedded in them, attempted to recall each definition, and then made a postdictive judgment about the quality of their definition recall. When making these judgments, participants either received no feedback or were presented the correct definition as feedback. Age-related equivalence was found in the relative accuracy of these term-specific judgments, and older adults’ absolute accuracy benefited from feedback to the same degree as did younger adults.

External Link: PMID:20126418


Hertzog, C., Sinclair, S. M., & Dunlosky, J. (2010). Age differences in the monitoring of learning: Cross-sectional evidence of spared resolution across the adult life span. Developmental Psychology, 46, 939-948.

ABSTRACT: Research on metacognitive development in adulthood has exclusively used extreme-age-groups designs. Given the limitations of this design, we used a full cross-sectional sample (N = 286, age range: 20-80) to evaluate how associative relatedness and encoding strategies influence the magnitude and resolution of judgments of learning (JOLs) across the adult life-span. At study participants studied related and unrelated word pairs and made JOLs. After a cued-recall test, retrospective item strategy reports were collected. Results revealed developmental patterns not available from previous studies (e.g., linear age-related declines in JOL magnitude across the lifespan) and converged with previous studies to indicate that adult development spares monitoring of learning. Both relatedness and effective strategy use positively influenced JOL resolution, and effective strategy use was responsible for higher resolution of JOLs for unrelated items. The simultaneous investigation of multiple cues for JOLs is essential for fully understanding how people construct metacognitive judgments.

External Link: doi: 10.1037/a0019812


Daniels, K. A., Toth, J. P., & Hertzog, C. (2009). Aging and recollection in the accuracy of judgments of learning. Psychology and Aging, 24, 494-500.

ABSTRACT: Dual-process theories propose that episodic memory performance reflects both recollection of prior details as well as more automatic influences of the past. The authors explored the idea that recollection mediates the accuracy of judgments of learning (JOLs) and may also help explain age differences in JOL accuracy. Young and older adults made immediate JOLs at study and then completed recognition or recall tests that included a recollect/familiar judgment. JOLs were found to be strongly related to recollected items but not to items remembered on the basis of familiarity. The pattern was weaker in older adults, consistent with age-related declines in recollection.

External Link: doi: 10.1037/a0015269


MacLaverty, S. N., & Hertzog, C. (2009). Do age-related differences in episodic feeling of knowing accuracy depend on the timing of the judgment? Memory, 17, 860-873.

ABSTRACT: The current study investigated whether there were age-related differences in episodic feeling-of knowing (FOK) accuracy and whether accuracy was influenced by when the FOK judgments were made. Younger and older participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions that manipulated the timing of the FOK in relation to cued -recall and recognition. Age-related differences in FOK accuracy were not reliable either when the FOK was immediate or when it was delayed. Moreover, FOK accuracy was above chance for both age groups. Remember/Know (RK) judgments correlated reliably with FOKs for unrecalled words for both age groups and did not vary by FOK timing. Verbal ability, but not education, health, or perceptual speed, correlated with FOK accuracy. These results suggest that rather than a general age-related deficit in episodic FOK accuracy the presence of age-related differences in resolution might be influenced by individual differences in such factors as verbal ability.

External Link: doi: 10.1080/09658210903374537

Serra, M. J., Dunlosky, J., & Hertzog, C. (2008). Do older adults show less confidence in their monitoring of learning? Experimental Aging Research, 34, 379-391.

ABSTRACT: Although aging has a minimal effect on the accuracy of people’s judgments of learning (JOLs) at predicting future memory performance, older adults may be less confident in these memory judgments—similar to the age declines often reported with memory self-efficacy. To evaluate this possibility, the authors had younger and older adults make JOLs for paired associates and rate their confidence in the accuracy of each JOL. Age-related declines in confidence in judgments were evident for immediate JOLs but not for delayed JOLs. Implications of these outcomes for theory of JOLs and explaining age-related differences in self-regulated study are discussed.

External Link: doi: 10.1080/03610730802271898


Eakin, D. K., & Hertzog C. (2006). Release from implicit interference in memory and metamemory: Older adults know that they can’t let go. Journals of Gerontology Series B-Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 61(6), 340-347.

ABSTRACT: Cued recall performance is better when cue and targets have a small number of semantic associates, which is an effect of implicit interference from shared associates (Nelson, McKinney, Gee, & Janczura, 1998). The present study examined age-related effects on memory under conditions of implicit interference. Recall and recognition performance of both younger and older adults was evaluated for small-versus large-set-size cues under two contexts. Comparable cue-set-size effects were obtained for both age groups under extralist cueing, but they were eliminated only for younger adults under intralist cueing. Older adults were not able to use the context to effectively eliminate implicit interference from associates of the cue as did younger adults, perhaps because of an inhibition deficit. Both groups had equivalent metamemory accuracy and sensitivity, indicating that the monitoring of learning prior to a test reflected the effects of implicit interference and is not impaired by aging.

External Link: PMID:17114303


Dunlosky, J., Baker, J., Rawson, K. A., & Hertzog, C. (2006). Does aging influence people’s metacomprehension? Effects of processing ease on judgments of text learning. Psychology and Aging, 21, 390-400.

ABSTRACT: In two experiments, we investigated whether age-related differences exist in metacomprehension by evaluating predictions from the ease-of-processing (EOP) hypothesis and by estimating the accuracy of judgments of text learning for both older and younger adults. According to this hypothesis, judgments of how well a text has been learned are based on how easily each text was processed, with easier processing resulting in greater judgments. Participants read either sentence pairs (Experiment 1) or longer texts (Experiment 2) and judged their learning of each text immediately after reading. Ease of processing each text was also measured. Although an age-related difference in the use of EOP in judgments was observed with sentence pairs, older and younger adults’ judgments were related to processing ease for longer texts. In both experiments, age equivalence also occurred in judgment accuracy. Thus, the overall pattern of results suggests that people’s judgments of text learning remain largely intact with aging.

External Link: PMID:16768583


Robinson, A. E., Hertzog, C., & Dunlosky, J. (2006). Aging, encoding fluency, and metacognitive monitoring. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 13(3), 458-478.

ABSTRACT: Encoding fluency (how rapidly one generates a mediator for a new association) may be a cue used to judge one’s own learning. To evaluate age differences in utilization of this cue, older and younger adults were instructed to use interactive imagery to study paired associates, pressing a button to indicate when an image had been formed for a given pair. A judgment of learning (JOL) was also made immediately after each pair had been studied. Hence, at least two cues pertaining to encoding fluency—whether an image had been formed (a diagnostic cue) and the latency of formation (a nondiagnostic one)—were available when making JOLs. Age equivalence was found in JOL accuracy, and JOLs for both age groups were positively related to imagery formation and were negatively related to the latency of image formation. Moreover, subjectively judged latency correlated higher with JOLs than actual (objective) latency, supporting the hypothesis that perceived fluency is a cue used in constructing JOLs.

External Link: PMID:16887783


Dunlosky, J., Kubat-Silman, A. K., & Hertzog, C. (2003). Do age differences exist in monitoring of encoding? Effects of aging on the magnitude and accuracy of quality-of-encoding judgments. American Journal of Psychology, 116, 431-454.

ABSTRACT: Age-invariance in the monitoring of associative learning has been the norm in numerous investigations concerning how accurately people predict future recall–predictions which are partly based on people’s beliefs about forgetting. In the present research, we obtained a measure of monitoring that is minimally influenced by beliefs about forgetting. Participants made quality-of-encoding (QUE) judgments by rating how well each item had been encoded. In two experiments, older and younger adults studied 60 paired-associate items; immediately after studying each one, they made a QUE judgment. Each item was presented at a 4-sec or 8-sec presentation rate. QUEs from both age groups were sensitive to the production of different strategies, presentation rate, and item characteristics. Reliable age differences in the correlation of QUEs and subsequent recall were found for related items (Experiment 1) but not for unrelated items (Experiment 2). The outcomes indicate similar processes for generating QUE judgments by older and younger adults, but they also suggest the possibility of an age-related deficit in the accuracy of monitoring encoding in some experimental conditions.

External Link: PMID:14503394


Dunlosky, J., Kubat-Silman, A. K., & Hertzog, C. (2003). Training monitoring skills improves older adults’ self-paced associative learning. Psychology and Aging, 18, 340-345.

ABSTRACT: We investigated a memory-enhancement program that involved teaching older adults to regulate study through self testing. A regulation group was taught standard strategies along with self-testing techniques for identifying less-well learned items that could benefit from extra study. This group was compared to a strategy-control group that were taught only strategies and to a waiting-list control group. Greater training gains were shown for the regulation group (effect size, d = .72) than for the strategy-control (d = .28) and waiting-list control (d = .03) groups, indicating that training a monitoring skill–self testing–can improve older adults’ learning.

External Link: PMID:12825781


Hertzog, C., Dunlosky, J., Robinson A. E., & Kidder, D. P.  (2003). Encoding fluency is a cue used for judgments about learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 29(1),  22-34.

Paired-associate learning was used to investigate the hypothesis that the speed of generating an interactive image (encoding fluency) influenced two metacognitive judgments: judgments of learning (JOLs) and quality of encoding ratings (QUEs). Results from the first two experiments indicated that latency of a keypress indicating successful image formation was negatively related to both JOLs and QUEs even though latency was unrelated to recall. The third experiment demonstrated that when concrete and abstract items were mixed in a single list, latency was related to concreteness, judgments, and recall. However, item concreteness and fluency influenced judgments independent of one another. These outcomes suggest an important role of encoding fluency in the formation of metacognitive judgments about learning and future recall.

External Link: PMID:12549580


Hertzog, C. (2002). Metacognition in older adults: implications for application.  In T. J. Perfect, & B. L. Schwartz (Eds.), Applied metacognition (pp. 169-196). London: Cambridge University Press.

ABSTRACT: Metacognition is a construct that has received considerable attention in developmental psychology, including psychological gerontology – the science of aging. As I treat it here, metacognition is a broad umbrella term that covers several related constructs: knowledge about cognition, beliefs (both about oneself and about cognition in general), and monitoring (Hertzog and Hultsch, 2000). Much of the emphasis in studies of aging and metacognition has been placed on the role of beliefs about memory and aging, both in oneself and others, and how those beliefs may influence beliefs about one’s own cognitive functioning. Traditionally, beliefs have played less of a role in research by experimental psychologists interested in metacognition. This line of theory and research has typically focused on processes of awareness and judgment concerning the status of the cognitive system, concentrating on the constructs of monitoring and control achieved via utilization of monitoring (e.g. Nelson, 1996). This state of affairs seems to be changing, as scientists interested in metacognition have begun to consider the potential importance of constructs such as causal attributions in explaining the accuracy or inaccuracy of measures of monitoring (e.g. Koriat, Goldsmith, and Pansky, 2000).

External Link: doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511489976.009


Hertzog, C., Kidder, D. P., Powell-Moman, A. & Dunlosky, J. (2002). Aging and monitoring associative learning: Is monitoring accuracy spared or impaired?  Psychology and Aging, 17, 209-225.

ABSTRACT: Mixed lists of associatively related and unrelated paired-associates were used to study monitoring of associative learning. Older and younger adults produced above-chance levels of relative accuracy, as measured by intraindividual correlations of JOLs with item recall. JOLs were strongly influenced by relatedness, and this effect was greater for older adults. Relative accuracy was higher for unrelated than for related pairs. Correlations of JOLs with item recall for a randomly yoked learner indicated that access to one’s own encoding experiences increased relative accuracy. Older adults showed equivalent privileged access when using continuous (but not discrete) JOL rating scales. Both age groups manifested a contrast effect (lower JOLs for unrelated items when mixed with related items). Aging appears to spare monitoring of encoding, even though it adversely affects associative learning.

External Link: PMID:12061407


Dunlosky, J. & Hertzog, C. (2000).  Updating knowledge about strategy effectiveness: A componential analysis of learning about strategy effectiveness from task experience.  Psychology and Aging, 15, 462-474.

ABSTRACT: Researchers have argued for age deficits in learning about the relative effects of encoding strategies from task experience, partly on the basis of absolute accuracy of metacognitive judgments. However, these findings could be attributed to factors other than age differences in learning about encoding strategies. Forty older adults and 40 younger adults participated in two study-test trials in which they studied paired associates with either interactive imagery or rote repetition, predicted subsequent recall for the items, attempted to recall each item, and postdicted recall performance. Recall was greater for imagery than repetition, yet this effect was not fully reflected by predictions made on Trial 1, allowing for the possibility of knowledge updating about the strategies on Trial 2. Although, both older and younger adults accurately postdicted recall performance during Trial 1, absolute accuracy of the predictions made on Trial 2 showed little improvement. However, both age groups demonstrated increases in between-person correlations of predictions with recall, which is consistent with age deficits in knowledge updating. Thus, both younger and older adults had updated knowledge about the strategies form task experience, but such updating was not evident in the absolute accuracy of the predictions.

External Link: PMID:11014709


Hertzog, C., Park, D. C., Morrell, R. W., & Martin, M. (2000). Behavioral specificity in the accuracy of subjective memory complaints.  Applied Cognitive Psychology, 14, 257-275.

ABSTRACT: A cross-sectional sample of adults completed an extensive set of cognitive tasks and a set of questionnaires measuring depressive affect, memory complaint, and other variables. During an interview about their prescribed medications, the participants also reported whether they were having problems remembering to take the medication as prescribed (an everyday prospective memory problem). Their medication adherence at home was then monitored for one month using pill bottles with microelectronic caps. Cognitive tasks correlated with memory complaints, as measured by the Memory Functioning Questionnaire, but not with problems in remembering to take medications. The highest correlations were with a free recall task. Conversely, reported problems with medication adherence during the interview had good predictive validity for subsequent adherence problems, but not for cognitive tasks, including a measure of prospective memory. Depressive affect was related to both the questionnaire and the interview complaints about medication adherence, but a structural equation model showed that the relationships of cognition and medication adherence to the different memory complaints were independent of depressive affect. The results are interpreted in terms of a behavioral specificity hypothesis, which states that adults’self-reports of memory problems are valid when they focus directly on specific memory-related behaviors in everyday contexts.

External Link:


Dunlosky, J. T., & Hertzog, C. (1998).  Training programs to improve learning in later adulthood: Helping older adults educate themselves.  In D. J. Hacker, J. Dunlosky, & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), Metacognition in educational theory and practice (pp. 249-275). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

ABSTRACT: We review findings in the literature regarding aging and metacognitive monitoring, strategy use, and learning. The central thesis is that aging does not impair the ability to monitor ongoing learning, even though it has an adverse impact on learning itself. Given that older adults are able to monitor their learning, the argument developed in this chapter is that they can potentially benefit from the strategic use of monitoring to control or regulate their learning. This involves the use of self-testing as a metacognitively oriented strategy — actually testing one’s learning and then adjusting learning strategies based on the self-testing. Existing training programs for older adults have focused almost exclusively on strategy training, with or without cognitive restructuring of dysfunctional beliefs about the nature of aging and its effects on memory. We argue that existing training programs should be expanded to included metacognitive training, so that older adults are encouraged to monitor the effectiveness of strategies by self-testing, and to then adapt their strategic behavior (for example, by allocating more time and effort to study the information they have not yet mastered).

External Link: PsychINFO


Dunlosky, J., & Hertzog, C. (1997).  Older and younger adults use a functionally identical algorithm to select items for restudy during multi-trial learning.  Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 52, 178-186.

ABSTRACT: We investigated whether aging affects several components of how people select items for study during multitrial learning. Younger and older adults studied paired-associate items and then made delayed judgments of learning (JOLs). Immediately after making a JOL for an item, some participants decided whether to restudy the item on subsequent trials; for other participants, the computer selected for restudy the items that had been judged as least-well learned. Next, paired-associate recall occurred, which was followed by restudy-test trials. As expected, age differences occurred in recall on the first trial, and this difference was propagated across trials. In contrast to the hypothesis that older adults would be more conservative in selecting items, both age groups selected to restudy (a) the items that they had rated as least-well learned and (b) the majority of items that would not be recalled on the first trial. Comparisons between participants who self-selected items vs. the groups in which the computer controlled selection also converged on the conclusion of age equivalence in processes underlying item selection.

External Link: PMID:9224442


Connor, L. T., Dunlosky, J., & Hertzog, C. (1997).  Age-related differences in absolute but not relative metamemory accuracy.  Psychology and Aging, 12, 50-71.

ABSTRACT: In 3 experiments, the effects of age on different kinds of metacognitive prediction accuracy were assessed. Participants made global memory predictions and item-by-item memory predictions in a single experimental task. Metacognitive accuracy was evaluated with correlational and more traditional difference-score measures. Difference-score measures were found, in some cases, to be sensitive to level of recall performance. Correlational techniques revealed that older adults monitored learning effectively. Relative to younger adults, they showed equally accurate immediate judgments of learning (JOLs), produced an equivalent delayed-JOL effect, and showed equivalent upgrading in the accuracy of their global prediction from before to after study of test materials.

External Link: PMID:9100268


Hertzog, C., Saylor, L. L., Fleece, A. M., & Dixon, R. A. (1994). Metamemory and aging: Relations between predicted, actual, and perceived memory task performance.  Aging and Cognition, 1, 203-237.

ABSTRACT: Four experiments examined adult age differences in predictions and postdictions of memory task performance. The results support the conceptualization of performance predictions as constructed judgments that tare influenced by a number of factors, including memory self-efficacy and task appraisal processes. Prediction accuracy varied as a function of the type of task (recall better than recognition), subject age (better accuracy by old adults), and task experience (improvement over trials). Prediction accuracy appeared to be influenced by inferences about possible levels of task performance. Different age groups were equally accurate at postdicting performance. Three of the four experiments obtained predictions both before and after study, observing an increase in the correlations of predictions with recall after study. This upgrading effect was more pronounced for younger adults relative to older adults, possibly indicating poorer monitoring of learning or the contents of memory by older adults during the construction of the after-study prediction.

External Link: doi:10.1080/13825589408256577


Hertzog, C., Dixon, R. A., & Hultsch, D. F. (1990).  Relationships between metamemory, memory predictions, and memory task performance in adults.  Psychology and Aging, 5, 215-227.

ABSTRACT: A cross-sectional sample of adults recalled categorized word lists and narrative texts. Subjects gave performance predictions before each of 3 recall trials for each task. Older subjects had poorer memory performance and also predicted lower performance levels than did younger subjects. The LISREL models suggested (a) direct effects of memory self-efficacy (MSE) on initial predictions; (b) upgrading of prediction-performance correlations across trials, determined by direct effects of performance on subsequent predictions; (c) significant effects of a higher order verbal memory factor on MSE; and (d) an independent relationship of text recall ability to initial text recall performance predictions. These results lend support to the theoretical treatment of predictions as task-specific MSE judgments.

External Link: PMID:2378687