Slow Judgments of Learning Predict Familiarity-Based Memories as Measured by the Remember-Know Task

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Dual-process theories of memory assume that memory is based on recollection and familiarity. A few dual-process approaches to metacognition have been proposed, which assume that metacognitive judgments, including judgments of learning (JOLs) or predictions about the likelihood of recall, are based on two, or slow and fast, processes. Prior research suggests that JOLs are generally linked to recollection and familiarity (e.g., higher JOLs for recollected items). However, the basis of JOLs is still unknown. Measuring JOL latency as well as magnitude, the present study investigated the underlying processes of JOLs for items that would be classified by the remember-know procedure in cued recall paradigms. Four experiments yielded three findings from individual experiment analyses and meta-analyses. First, high, middle, and low JOLs were assigned to items that received remember, know, and nomemory judgments, respectively. Second, JOL latencies were the longest for items that received a know judgment. For each, the effect was larger for delayed (vs. immediate) JOLs. Finally, in each JOL condition, there was no support for the idea that the relative accuracy of JOLs increases when memory performance is exclusively defined as items that received a remember judgment. Most importantly, the finding of JOL latency suggests that during study, middle-level JOLs are made on the basis of deliberate processes, which is consistent with dual-process approaches to JOLs, for items recalled with a know judgment at test. Discussions include possible processes leading to slow middle-level JOLs and relations of JOLs to recollection/familiarity, and theoretical/methodological issues with using the rememberknow procedure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1618-1637
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 13 2021


  • Cued recall
  • Dual-process approaches to metacognition
  • Judgments of learning
  • Recollection and familiarity
  • Remember-know procedure


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