What Determines Initial Feeling of Knowing? Familiarity With Question Terms, Not With the Answer

Lynne M. Reder, Frank E. Ritter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

313 Scopus citations

Abstract

How do people know whether they have an answer to a question before they actually find it in their memory? We conducted 2 experiments exploring this question, in which Ss were trained on relatively novel 2-digit × 2-digit arithmetic problems (e.g., 23 × 27). Before answering each problem, Ss made a quick feeling of knowing judgment as to whether they could directly retrieve the answer from memory or had to compute it. Knowing the answer initially appeared to be linearly related to having a feeling of knowing the answer; however, when the frequency of exposure to complete problems and the frequency of exposure to parts of the problems were separately varied, feeling of knowing was better predicted by the frequency of presentation of the problem parts, not by knowledge of the answer. This suggests that the processes involved in knowing the answer are different from those involved in having a feeling of knowing. Specifically, an early feeling of knowing is not just based on an early read of the answer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-451
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

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