Embodiment Meets Metamemory: Weight as a Cue for Metacognitive Judgments

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Weight is conceptualized as an embodiment of importance, according to recent research on embodied cognition (Ackerman, Nocera, & Bargh, 2010; Jostmann, Lakens, & Schubert, 2009). Is importance as embodied by weight used as a cue that items are memorable? Four experiments varied participants’ perceptual experiences of weight as they studied words and predicted later memory performance via judgments of learning (JOLs) for a recall (Experiment 1) or recognition (Experiments 2–4) memory test. Greater weight was associated with higher JOLs, although weight did not affect actual memory performance. The relationship between weight and JOLs disappeared when participants were primed to think of cases where lightweight is a positive attribute and heavyweight is a negative attribute (Experiment 4). Even cognition about our own cognition is embodied.

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