Improving Memory: The Possible Roles of Metamemory

  • Christopher Hertzog


Psychologists interested in memory have become increasingly aware of the potential role of metamemory in the acquisition and retention of to-be-remembered information (Cavanaugh & Green, 1990; Cavanaugh, Morton, & Tilse, 1989; Hertzog, Dixon, & Hultsch, 1990a; Schneider & Pressley, 1989). The term metamemory can be defined broadly as cognitions about memory (e.g., Wellman, 1983). As such, it is one aspect of a broader concept of metacognition--or cognitions about all aspects of cognition. Metamemory is actually a label for multiple specific concepts, including knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors related to memory (Cavanaugh, Kramer, Sinjiott. Camp, & Markley, 1985; Dixon, 1989; Gilewski & Zelinski, 1986; Hultsch, Hertzog, Dixon, & Davidson, 1988). Hultsch et al. (1988) identified four broad aspects of metamemory: (a) factual knowledge about memory tasks and memory processes--defined as knowledge about both how memory functions and the viability of strategic behaviors for tasks requiring memory processes; (b) memory monitoring-defined as awareness of how one typically uses memory as well as the current state of one’s memory system; (c) memory self-efficacy--defined as one’s sense of mastery or capability to use memory effectively in memory-demanding situations; and (d) memory-related affect--defined as a variety of emotional states that may be related to or generated by memory demanding situations, including anxiety, depression, and fatigue.


Memory Task Memory Performance Test Anxiety Memory Ability Memory Complaint 
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  • Christopher Hertzog

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