Metamemory in older adults: the role of monitoring in serial recall.

M. D. Murphy, F. A. Schmitt, M. J. Caruso, R. E. Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Older and younger adults were asked to think aloud while studying sets of pictures matched in difficulty for immediate serial recall. When instructed only to remember, young adults tended to study longer, rehearse more, and recall better than did older adults on the most difficult lists. Young adults were also much more likely to spontaneously test themselves during study in the most difficult condition. Older adult groups instructed either to study longer or to self-test, both showed improved recall. Only the older adults who had been instructed to self-monitor, however, recalled better on tests of short-term maintenance and generalization; overt rehearsal data showed that these older adults continued to test themselves. Metamemory deficits may be present with older adults when a strategy, like self-testing, is needed to generate metamemorial knowledge. Strategies such as self-testing can be easily taught, however, and they hold promise of being useful across situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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