Investigating Memory Reactivity with a Within-Participant Manipulation of Judgments of Learning
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Description: When learners make judgments of learning (JOLs) for some word pairs but not others, how and why is recall performance affected? Participants studied related and unrelated word pairs and made JOLs for a randomly selected half of the pairs. We evaluated two hypotheses. The changed-goal hypothesis states that making JOLs leads learners to notice differences in pair difficulty and to change their learning goal. Because JOLs are manipulated within participants, such a goal change should influence how all (judged or non-judged) pairs are processed on the list, which should lead to no JOL reactivity. The cue-strengthening hypothesis predicts greater positive reactivity (i.e., higher recall for judged versus non-judged pairs) for related than unrelated pairs, because making a JOL strengthens the relationship between the two words in a pair, which would be more beneficial for pairs with an a priori relationship. Across experiments, we found positive reactivity for both related and unrelated pairs (albeit to a lesser degree for the latter). We also found no evidence that learners make qualitative changes in their reported strategy use when judging pairs. Making JOLs for some pairs on a list influenced memory performance and the pattern of reactivity provided support for the cue-strengthening hypothesis.