• Wolfgang Schneider
  • Michael Pressley
Part of the Springer Series in Cognitive Development book series (SSCOG)


Metamemory is knowledge about memory. It resembles constructs advanced by earlier theoretical traditions (Cavanaugh & Perlmutter, 1982), such as systematic introspection as defined by the “Würzburg School” (Ach, 1905). Otto Selz (1913) made assumptions about self-regulating processes. He specified evaluation and selection mechanisms that resemble processes that are central to contemporary theory. Despite reservations about introspective data throughout the 20th century (e.g., Lyons, 1986), the potential importance of modern research on metacognition was anticipated enthusiastically by some experimental psychologists, including Tulving and Madigan (1970):

Why not start looking for ways of experimentally studying and incorporating into theories and models of memory one of the truly unique characteristics of human memory: its knowledge of its own knowledge ... We cannot help but feel that if there is ever going to be a genuine breakthrough in the psychological study of memory ... it will, among other things, relate the knowledge stored in the individual’s memory to his knowledge of that knowledge (p. 477).

At about the same time, John Flavell (1971) introduced the term metamemory for knowledge about memory processes and contents and gave it special status in his taxonomy of memory phenomena (Flavell & Wellman, 1977). There was great expansion of metamemory theory in the ensuing decade.


Memory Task Memory Performance Memory Span Organizational Strategy Metacognitive Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Schneider
    • 1
  • Michael Pressley
    • 2
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für Psychologische ForschungMunichWest Germany
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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