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What moderates the accuracy of ease of learning judgments?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Germany.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
2017 (English)In: Metacognition and Learning, ISSN 1556-1623, E-ISSN 1556-1631, Vol. 12, no 3, p. 337-355Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When people begin to study new material, they may first judge how difficult it will be to learn. Surprisingly, these ease of learning (EOL) judgments have received little attention by metacognitive researchers so far. The aim of this study was to systematically investigate how well EOL judgments can predict actual learning, and what factors may moderate their relative accuracy. In three experiments, undergraduate psychology students made EOL judgments on, then studied, and were tested on, lists of word-pairs (e.g., sun – warm). In Experiment 1, the Goodman-Kruskal gamma (G) correlations showed that EOL judgments were accurate (G = .74) when items varied enough in difficulty to allow for proper discrimination between them, but were less accurate (G = .21) when variation was smaller. Furthermore, in Experiment 1 and 3, we showed that the relative accuracy was reliably higher when the EOL judgments were correlated with a binary criterion (i.e., if an item was recalled or not on a test), compared with a trials-to-learn criterion (i.e., how many study and test trials were needed to recall an item). In addition, Experiments 2 and 3 indicate other factors to be non-influential for EOL accuracy, such as the task used to measure the EOL judgments, and whether items were judged sequentially (i.e., one item at a time in isolation from the other items) or simultaneously (i.e., each item was judged while having access to all other items). To conclude, EOL judgments can be highly accurate (G = .74) and may thus be of strategic importance for learning. Further avenues for research are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 12, no 3, p. 337-355
Keywords [en]
ease of learning judgments, monitoring, metacognition, cue utilization, item difficulty
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149676DOI: 10.1007/s11409-017-9172-3ISI: 000415108400003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-149676DiVA, id: diva2:1163765
Available from: 2017-12-07 Created: 2017-12-07 Last updated: 2018-06-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Metacognitive Aspects of Learning: What Influences Magnitude and Accuracy of Ease-of-Learning Judgments?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Metacognitive Aspects of Learning: What Influences Magnitude and Accuracy of Ease-of-Learning Judgments?
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

To learn efficiently, many situations require people to judge what will be easy or difficult to learn, or how well it has been stored in memory. These metacognitive judgments are important to understand because they most likely guide how people behave when they learn, and consequently how much they learn. In this thesis, I focus on what is referred to as ease-of-learning (EOL) judgments, that is judgments about how easy or difficult a material will be to learn. EOL judgments have received relatively limited attention in the metacognitive literature. Therefore, this thesis also considers for comparison the more extensively researched judgments of learning (JOL), which are judgments of how well a studied material has been learned or how likely it is to be remembered on a later memory test. I had two major aims with my research. First, I aimed to investigate how accurate EOL judgments are, that is, how well they can predict the ease of future learning, and what moderates this accuracy. More precisely, I investigated what affects EOL judgment accuracy by varying how much an item-set varies in a predictive item characteristic, as well as varying methodological aspects of the judgment situation. The second major aim was to investigate what sources of information people use to make EOL judgments and how the information is used to make metacognitive judgments. In three studies, participants made EOL judgments for word pairs (e.g., sun – warm), or single words (e.g., bucket), studied the items, and tried to recall them on memory tests. In Study II, participants also made JOLs after studying the items. To estimate the accuracy of the judgments, the judgments were correlated with recall performance on memory tests. The results of the thesis show that EOL judgments can be accurate when they are made on a to-be-learned material which varies in a predictive item characteristic (Study I and II). In some conditions, EOL judgments are even as accurate as JOLs (Study II). Study II also supports the cue competition hypothesis, which predicts that, when people judge memory and learning, they sometimes rely less on one source of information if other information is available. Furthermore, Study III shows that processing fluency (the experience of effort associated with processing information), may be an important source of information for EOL judgments, and that people’s beliefs about available information can moderate how the information is used to make EOL judgments. Overall, the results show when EOL judgments will be accurate and when they will not, and provides evidence that people may use processing fluency to make EOL judgments even when it contradicts their beliefs. Importantly, the results also indicate that when multiple sources of information are available, information may compete for influence over metacognitive judgments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2018. p. 65
Keywords
ease-of-learning judgments, judgments of learning, metacognition, monitoring, processing fluency, learning, memory
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-157395 (URN)978-91-7797-232-7 (ISBN)978-91-7797-233-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-09-07, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript.

Available from: 2018-08-15 Created: 2018-06-18 Last updated: 2018-07-27Bibliographically approved

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