Diminished episodic memory awareness in older adults: Evidence from feeling-of-knowing and recollection

Consciousness and Cognition 16 (4):769-784 (2007)
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Abstract

The ability to reflect on and monitor memory processes is one of the most investigated metamemory functions, and one of the important ways consciousnesses interacts with memory. The feeling-of-knowing is one task used to evaluate individual’s capacity to monitor their memory. We examined this reflective function of metacognition in older adults. We explored the contribution of metacognition to episodic memory impairment, in relation to the idea that older adults show a reduction in memory awareness characteristic of episodic memory. A first experiment showed that age affects the accuracy of FOK when predictions are made on an episodic memory task but not on a semantic memory task, suggesting a particular role for episodic memory awareness in metacognitive evaluations. A second experiment showed that the age-difference in episodic FOK accuracy was removed if one took into account subjective reports of memory awareness, or recollection. We argue that the FOK deficit specific to episodic memory is based on a lack of memory awareness manifest as a recollection deficit

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