A New Approach to Improving Metamemorial Control in Older Adults.
Abstract: Metamemory is composed of two distinct but interconnected processes:
monitoring and control. Monitoring, or the self-awareness of one's own memory, has been
known to influence later control processes. Research suggests that older adults frequently
exhibit age-related deficits in metamemorial control in spite of their accurate monitoring.
In this dissertation, a reduced cognitive reso... read moreurce hypothesis is proposed in order to
explain age-related deficits in control efficiency. The hypothesis suggests that
cognitively taxing tasks that consume resources prior to control may result in fewer
resources at the time of control in older adults. Across the four experiments, I examined
the relationship between cognitive burden and effective control in older adults. Experiment
1 tested the hypothesis that metamemorial control following an episodic memory task would
be more cognitively demanding as compared to that following a semantic memory task.
Experiment 2 tested the hypothesis that explicit monitoring would place a burden on
cognitive resources, resulting in deficits in control. In Experiment 3, I hypothesized that
cognitive resources would be related to control when study time was limited. In Experiment
4, I hypothesized that presenting specific goals would reduce cognitive burden and result
in effective control in older adults. Across the four experiments, older adults spent more
time studying information than young adults; however, this extra time did not translate
into greater memory improvement in older adults. In Experiment 1, more efficient study time
allocation was found in semantic memory tasks as compared to episodic memory tasks in both
young and older adults. In Experiment 2, explicit monitoring eliminated age-related
differences in study time allocation, contrary to my original hypothesis. When cognitive
resources were directly measured using a battery of psychometric tests, cognitive resources
did not correlate with control efficiency. In Experiment 3, age-related differences were
found in correlations between study time and cognitive resources only when study time was
limited. In Experiment 4, age-related differences in study time allocation diminished when
specific goals were presented. Additionally, both age groups were able to strategically
learn more valuable information. These findings have implications for understanding the
impact of cognitive resources on metamemorial control in older adults.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2015.
Submitted to the Dept. of Psychology.
Advisor: Ayanna Thomas.
Committee: Linda Tickle-Degnen, Celine Souchay, and Holly Taylor.
Keyword: Cognitive psychology.read less