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Cue familiarity and ‘don’t know’ responding in episodic memory tasks

Mazzoni, Giuliana; Hanczakowski, Maciej; Pasek, Tomasz; Zawadzka, Katarzyna


Giuliana Mazzoni

Maciej Hanczakowski

Tomasz Pasek

Katarzyna Zawadzka


Metacognitive monitoring and control are two interdependent mechanisms by which people regulate encoding and retrieval processes in memory. While much is known about monitoring, and how the results of monitoring processes affect control at encoding, much less evidence is available for the monitoring–control relationship with respect to the regulation of retrieval. The present study provides information on this point by assessing whether a factor that is known to affect metacognitive monitoring at retrieval, i.e. cue familiarity, affects also metacognitive control at retrieval (i.e. the decision to volunteer or withhold a response in a memory task). In seven experiments cue familiarity was manipulated by having participants make a pleasantness judgment beforehand for half of the critical cues. Results showed that cue familiarity affected not only metacognitive judgments of feeling-of-knowing and retrospective confidence, but also the rate of ‘don’t know’ responses in different recognition tasks. These results demonstrate that a factor known to affect metacognitive monitoring determines also the decision to volunteer or withhold a response (metacognitive control), which in turn shapes participants’ performance in a memory task.


Mazzoni, G., Hanczakowski, M., Pasek, T., & Zawadzka, K. (2013). Cue familiarity and ‘don’t know’ responding in episodic memory tasks. Journal of Memory and Language, 69(3), 368-383.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 8, 2013
Online Publication Date May 21, 2013
Publication Date Oct 1, 2013
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Journal of memory and language
Print ISSN 0749-596X
Electronic ISSN 1096-0821
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 69
Issue 3
Pages 368-383
Keywords ‘Don’t know’ responding; Metamemory; Monitoring; Control
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: Journal of memory and language, 2013, v.69, issue 3


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