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How to assess the contributions of processing fluency and beliefs to the formation of judgments of learning: methods and pitfalls

Yang, C; Yu, R; Hu, X; Luo, L; Huang, TST; Shanks, DR; (2021) How to assess the contributions of processing fluency and beliefs to the formation of judgments of learning: methods and pitfalls. Metacognition and Learning 10.1007/s11409-020-09254-4. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Judgments of learning (JOLs) play a fundamental role in helping learners regulate their study strategies but are susceptible to various kinds of illusions and biases. These can potentially impair learning efficiency, and hence understanding the mechanisms underlying the formation of JOLs is important. Many studies have suggested that both processing fluency and metamemory beliefs can contribute substantially to the construction of JOLs. However, in recent years another body of evidence has accumulated apparently demonstrating that beliefs play a dominant role, whereas processing fluency plays little or even no role in JOL formation. In the current article, we review the experimental and analytic methods employed in this field to measure the contributions of processing fluency and beliefs to the formation of JOLs. We then illustrate several potential disadvantages and pitfalls of those research methods. Suggestions about how to solve or avoid such problems are discussed. We make several proposals for future research to shed additional light on the illusions and biases that have been documented in JOLs. Judgments of learning (JOLs; metacognitive estimates of the likelihood that a given item will be remembered on a future occasion) are susceptible to various kinds of illusions and biases (e.g., Rhodes and Castel 2008; Yang et al. 2018a). Given that JOLs likely play a causal role in study strategy regulation (Kornell and Bjork 2008; Li et al. 2015), understanding the mechanisms responsible for the formation of JOLs is of considerable importance for exploring practical interventions to calibrate JOLs, reduce biases, and optimize learning efficiency. Accordingly, shedding light on the mechanisms underlying the construction of JOLs is a major goal for researchers and educators (e.g., Frank and Kuhlmann 2016; Koriat 1997; Mueller, Dunlosky and Tauber 2016; Yang et al. 2018a). Previous studies have employed diverse experimental and analytic methods to investigate the roles of processing fluency (an experience-based cue) and metamemory beliefs (a theory-based cue) in JOL formation. The research findings derived from different studies are inconsistent (e.g., Mueller et al. 2014; Mueller et al. 2013; Undorf and Erdfelder 2014; Yang et al. 2018a). The current review aims to: (1) briefly introduce some of the key empirical findings documented by the relevant studies; (2) summarize the experimental and analytic methods employed by this body of studies; (3) highlight several disadvantages and pitfalls of those methods; and finally (4) offer some suggestions regarding how to solve or mitigate those problems in future research.

Type: Article
Title: How to assess the contributions of processing fluency and beliefs to the formation of judgments of learning: methods and pitfalls
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11409-020-09254-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11409-020-09254-4
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10120167
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