Metamemory through the adult life span

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Abstract

Metamemory is accurate if it returns correct information about the contents in store. It is efficient if it appropriately controls search durations so that more time is allocated to seeking information actually present, and less to information actually absent. 36 adults in 3 age groups (19-22, 44-53, and 65-74 yrs) answered questions on heterogeneous topics, and their responses were timed. Next, metamemorial judgments were made for each S's set of unanswered questions. The same items were then attempted in multiple-choice format, and confidence ratings in the answers were taken. All age groups showed comparable ability to retrieve answers from memory. All showed accurate and efficient metamemory, with no age differences in either. A signal detection analysis raised the possibility that metamemorial sensitivity increases with age. The data also suggest caution among the elderly in suppressing available but low-confidence answers. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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