Immediate judgments of learning predict subsequent recollection: Evidence from event-related potentials

Ida Maria Skavhaug*, Edward L. Wilding, David I. Donaldson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Judgments of learning (JOLs) are assessments of how well materials have been learned. Although a wide body of literature has demonstrated a reliable correlation between memory performance and JOLs, relatively little is known about the nature of this link. Here, we investigate the relationship between JOLs and the memory retrieval processes engaged on a subsequent memory test. Participants first studied cue-target word pairs and assigned JOLs to each. Later, memory for the cue word in each pair was assessed using an old/new recognition memory task, and electrophysiological measures of familiarity and recollection were examined. Recognition accuracy was superior for materials given high rather than low JOLs. Analysis of event-related potentials (ERPs) revealed that for both high and low JOL items, successful recognition elicited correlates of familiarity (the mid-frontal effect) and recollection (the left-parietal effect). Importantly, however, the magnitude of the familiarity correlate was equal for high and low JOL items, whereas the magnitude of the recollection correlate was significantly larger for items given high JOLs. These findings demonstrate that JOLs made at study correlate with memory retrieval at test-but that this correlation is specific to recollection. The electrophysiological data support the broader view that participants focus on contextual cues when making JOLs, which may later aid recollection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Event-related potentials
  • Judgments of learning
  • Memory retrieval
  • Metamemory
  • Recollection


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