Recollection-Based Prospective Metamemory Judgments Are More Accurate Than Those Based on Confidence: Judgments of Remembering and Knowing (JORKs)

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Five experiments were conducted to examine whether the nature of the information that is monitored during prospective metamemory judgments affected the relative accuracy of those judgments. We compared item-by-item judgments of learning (JOLs), which involved participants determining how confident they were that they would remember studied items, with judgments of remembering and knowing (JORKs), which involved participants determining whether studied items would later be accompanied by contextual details (i.e., remembering) or would not (i.e., knowing). JORKs were more accurate than JOLs when remember–know or confidence judgments were made at test and when cued recall was the outcome measure, but not for yes–no recognition. We conclude that the accuracy of metamemory judgments depends on the nature of the information monitored during study and test and that metamemory monitoring can be improved if participants are asked to base their judgments on contextual details rather than on confidence. These data support the contention that metamemory decisions can be based on qualitatively distinct cues, rather than an overall memory strength signal.

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