Forget Framing Might Involve the Assumption of Mastery, but Probably Does Not Activate the Notion of Forgetting

Michael J. Serra, Benjamin D. England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Soliciting predictions about hypothetical memory performance (without having participants engage in a related memory task) is a simple way for researchers to examine people's metacognitive beliefs about how memory functions. Using this methodology, researchers can vary what information is provided as part of the scenario or how the memory prediction is framed to examine how such factors alter people's memory predictions. For example, Koriat, Bjork, Sheffer, and Bar (2004) found that participants would factor expected retention intervals into their memory predictions (worse performance over longer intervals) when they were asked to predict future forgetting, but not when they were asked to predict future remembering. In the present experiments, we examined the effects of forget framing on memory predictions and whether we indicated that the hypothetical learners had mastered the information before the retention interval began. Although we hypothesized that stating initial mastery might similarly activate participants' knowledge that memory should decline with longer retention intervals, in our experiments, neither the forget frame nor mastery information seemed to consistently trigger participants' beliefs about forgetting. Furthermore, participants' remember-framed predictions were higher when we indicated mastery than when we did not, but forget-framed predictions were not affected by the mastery information. Taken together, the present results suggest that the forget frame might involve the assumption of an initially high level of mastery but probably does not activate a "notion of forgetting" that alerts participants to the fact that memory declines over increasing retention intervals.

Keywords

  • Framing
  • Judgments of learning
  • Memory predictions
  • Metacognition
  • Retention intervals

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