The influence of making judgments of learning on memory performance: Positive, negative, or both?

  • Jessica L. Janes
  • Michelle L. Rivers
  • John Dunlosky
Brief Report


A common measure of memory monitoring——judgments of learning (JOLs)——has recently been shown to have reactive effects on learning. When participants study a list of related and unrelated word pairs, they recall more related than unrelated pairs. This relatedness effect is larger when people make JOLs than when they do not make them. Evidence is mixed concerning whether this increased relatedness effect arises because JOLs help memory for related pairs, hurt it for unrelated pairs, or do both. In three experiments, we investigated (1) the nature of the increased relatedness effect (i.e., does it arise from positive reactivity for related pairs, negative reactivity for unrelated pairs, or both?) and (2) the mechanisms underlying the effect. Participants studied cue–target word pairs and either did (or did not) make immediate JOLs and then completed a cued-recall test. When participants studied a mixed list consisting of related and unrelated pairs, the increased relatedness effect was largely driven by positive reactivity. When participants studied pure lists consisting solely of related or unrelated word pairs (Experiment 2 only), the increased relatedness effect was minimized. These and other findings suggest that making JOLs helps learning more than hurts it, and that this reactive effect partly occurs because making JOLs changes people’s learning goals.


Metamemory Reactivity Judgments of learning Monitoring 


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica L. Janes
    • 1
  • Michelle L. Rivers
    • 1
  • John Dunlosky
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesKent State UniversityKentUSA

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