Why Do Judgments of Learning Modify Memory? Evidence From Identical Pairs and Relatedness Judgments

Vered Halamish, Monika Undorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research has observed that monitoring one’s own learning modifies memory for some materials but not for others. Specifically, making judgments of learning (JOLs) while learning word pairs improves subsequent cued-recall memory performance for related word pairs but not for unrelated word pairs. Theories that have attempted to explain this pattern of results assume that people attend to and process cue-target relatedness during learning more when making JOLs than they spontaneously do when not making JOLs. The present research directly tested this relatedness-processing assumption with unrelated and related word pairs as well as with hitherto unexamined materials: identical word pairs. In three experiments, participants studied word pairs while either making or not making JOLs. Results revealed that making JOLs improved memory for related word pairs as well as for identical word pairs, but not for unrelated word pairs. Importantly, in two of the experiments, participants were further asked to judge at test whether each cue appeared with an unrelated, related, or identical target before attempting to recall it. Results revealed that making JOLs improved the accuracy of these relatedness judgments independently from its effect on recall, thus providing direct evidence that people process cue-target relatedness when making JOLs more than they spontaneously do when not making JOLs. These findings contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of why judging one’s own learning can modify memory and, more broadly, suggest that instructions to monitor learning can direct people’s attention to information that is not or less processed otherwise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-556
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Volume49
Issue number4
Early online date25 Aug 2022
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • cue-strengthening hypothesis
  • judgments of learning
  • metacognition
  • reactivity
  • relatedness judgments

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