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Old and very old adults as witnesses: event memory and metamemory

Journal article
Authors Mats Dahl
Carl Martin Allwood
Benjamin Scimone
Mikael Rennemark
Published in Psychology, Crime and Law
Volume 21
Issue 8
Pages 764-775
ISSN 1068-316X
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 764-775
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/1068316X.2015.10...
Keywords advanced age; metamemory; eyewitness memory; metacognition; confidence realism
Subject categories Psychology, Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)

Abstract

Older people constitute an important category of eyewitnesses. Episodic memory performance in older persons is poorer than in younger adults, but little research has been made on older persons’ metacognitive judgments. Since more persons of advanced age will likely be called upon as witnesses in coming years, it is critical to characterize this population’s metacognitive abilities. We compared event memory metacognition in old adults (66-year-old, n = 74) to very old adults (87 or 90 years old, n = 55). Participants were tested on their memory of a film, using questions with two answer alternatives and the confidence in their answer. As expected, the very old group had a lower accuracy rate than the old group (d = 0.59). The very old group, however, monitored this impairment, since their over-/underconfidence and calibration did not differ from the old group but they displayed a poorer ability to separate correct from incorrect answers (discrimination ability). Possibly, the very old group was able to monitor the level of their over-/underconfidence because they applied general selfknowledge about their memory skills. In contrast, the discrimination of correct from incorrect answers may be more dependent on ability to attend to the features of each retrieved memory.

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