Effects of retrieving childhood events on metamemory judgments depend on the questions you ask

H.L.G.J. Merckelbach*, R.W.H.J. Wiers, R. Horselenberg, J.P. Wessel

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective. The more people retrieve childhood memories, the less favourably they evaluate their own memory. It has been argued that this might play a role in self-reports of amnesia. However, a limitation of previous studies addressing this phenomenon is that participants' judgments about their memory were based on a single item. Design. Students were randomly assigned to either of two conditions. In one condition, they were asked to retrieve nine negative childhood events, whereas in the other condition, participants were required to recall three events. Method. After recall, students completed measures on memory accessibility and 'repression'. Results. Students who retrieved nine events rated their memories as less accessible, but also reported less repression than did students who retrieved three events. Conclusion. The direction of retrieval effects on metamemory judgments depends on the way in which questions are framed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-220
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001

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