How Do Stimulus Difficulty and Amount of Delay Impact Judgments of Learning Made by Younger and Older Adults?
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Learning is most effective when we monitor our progress and direct our efforts toward unlearned material. The concept of being aware of our learning is referred to as metacognition, and we are interested in what causes a change in judgements of learning (JOLs). Prior research has supported the idea that JOLs are more accurate predictors of learning when there is a delay between study and judgement. Additionally, a delay of at least 30 seconds has been found to increase the accuracy of JOLs. The delayed JOL effect is our primary focus, and in this study we investigated whether there is a change in accuracy between immediate JOLs and JOLs taken after either a 20-, 40-, or 60-second delay. UWEC undergraduates aged 18-25 years and “workers” on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk aged 57 years and older were compared in terms of their performance on a task administered using Qualtrics online survey software. They completed a paired-associate task, wherein individual paired-associates (e.g. APPLECART) were studied. For nonzero delays, study was followed by a distractor task involving the mental rotation of 3-D objects, where participants decided whether two objects were identical when one object may be slightly rotated. The normative difficulty of paired-associates was also manipulated within-subjects; pairs were either normatively easy, moderate, or difficult-to-learn. We hypothesized that JOLs would decrease in response to longer delays and greater difficulty. We also predicted that JOLs would decrease most following a 60-second delay in comparison to no delay and when comparing normatively easy and difficult-to-learn stimuli. Difficulty of stimuli was also expected to impact cued-recall performance more than size of delay. Lastly, we anticipated similar memory monitoring accuracy for younger and older adults in terms of both JOLs and post-test confidence judgements (CJs).
Judgment of learning (JOL)