Test: GRE Verbal

In day-to-day functioning, people rely on both memory and knowledge of that memory, referred to as metamemory. For example, a person often cannot immediately recall a name upon meeting someone, but they feel that they know it. This feeling is the result of monitoring memory. Because of this feeling-of-knowing (FOK), most people will continue to search their memory for this name. Once a name is generated, people then monitor and decide if they are confident enough to use that name.

Memory monitoring involves evaluating the ongoing progress of any aspect of memory. Experiments that evaluate memory monitoring typically have individuals make subjective judgments about their memory at various stages of learning and recall. Participants are asked a series of questions. After each question that they answer, they are asked to provide a retrospective confidence (RC) judgment, rating the likelihood that their response is accurate. When participants do not answer a question, they are asked for their prospective FOK judgment, assessing whether they nonetheless feel they do know the answer (for example because they think they may be able to remember it at some point in the future).

Perhaps predictably, RC judgments are highly correlated with actual knowledge of a topic. FOK judgments, however, correlate rather weakly—albeit positively—with actual knowledge. While there are some instances where the FOK is the result of a momentary inability to recall something, more often than not the FOK stems from the sense that one should know something, for example because the field is familiar.

Research has resulted in a general consensus that, when monitoring memory, individuals infer whether a particular response will be, or has been, remembered based on the inputs that are readily available. However, the particular inputs used differ depending on when memory is assessed. Prospective FOK judgments are thought to be based on familiarity of the cue, accessibility of information about the memory, or a combination of the two. In contrast, it is widely accepted that RC judgments are based on the memory-retrieval experience—that is, the “on-line” experience of directly retrieving some previously studied item.

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Which of the following, if true, would support the author's claims about the inputs associated with memory monitoring?

The longer the time period between when an individual studies a topic and when he or she is asked about it, the lower the FOK judgment associated with that question.

Individuals report high RC if the memory accessed to answer a question had a large amount of accessible information associated with it.

Brain scans of individuals performing FOK and RC judgments show that the two processes occur in different areas of the brain.

Individuals who were asked the same question on subsequent days reported higher FOK - even if they didn't know the answer - than did individuals who hadn't heard the question before.

Prospective FOK judgments are often associated with high levels of brain activity around the memory retrieval centers of the brain.

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