Perceptually Distinctive Features of Study Words Do Not Inflate Judgements of Learning: Evidence from Font Size, Highlights, and Sans Forgetica Font Type
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Description: Effective monitoring is important for successful learning, and the judgment of learning task (JOL) is often used to assess monitoring at encoding. In the JOL task, participants study a cue-target word pair (e.g., mouse-cheese) and are asked to rate the probability of correcting recalling the target word (e.g., cheese) if shown only the cue word (e.g., mouse). Prior research has shown that JOL accuracy is sensitive to perceptual cues. These cues can produce metacognitive illusions in which JOLs overestimate memory, such as the font-size effect (Rhodes & Castel, 2008) which occurs when participants inflate JOLs for pairs presented in large font relative to small font. The present study provides an additional test of the font-size effect and tests whether other perceptual manipulations can affect the correspondence between JOLs and recall. First, Experiments 1A and 1B were designed to replicate the font-size effect and test whether the effect extended to highlighting while using a set of related and unrelated word pairs. Experiment 2A and 2B then provided an additional test of font size and highlighting effects on JOLs using only unrelated pairs. Finally, Experiment 3 tested whether Sans Forgetica—a perceptually distinctive font specifically designed to improve memory—would result in inflated JOLs. Across experiments, the perceptually distinctive conditions did not result in an overestimation of later recall relative to non-distinctive conditions, and Sans Forgetica font in Experiment 3 yielded a memory cost (though no effect on JOLs). Collectively, perceptually distinctive study items do not appear to inflate JOLs at study.