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Memory and Metamemory

Memory is one of the most important and basal functions of human cognition: without memory there would be neither learning nor recognition of people or places. Although our knowledge about memory has grown immensely in the last 135 years since Hermann Ebbinghaus' (1885) fundamental work Über das Gedächtnis (On Memory), there are still a number of exciting questions for research.


What is metamemory?

Meta-memory comprises our assumptions as well as our knowledge of our own memory processes. Meta-memory is extremely important in daily life, as it helps to guide rational behaviour: If I know that I tend to forget things when I go shopping, I use a grocery list. If, on the other hand, I am good at remembering faces, then it may be useful for me to link information with faces, etc. In metacognition research, we investigate how judgements or predictions about one's own memory performance are formed and what information they are based on. Thereby, we are combining meta-memory research with a judgment psychological perspective and methodology for the first time in a DFG project (Bröder & Undorf, 2019; Undorf & Bröder, 2020; Undorf, Bröder & Söllner, 2018).


How to model memory?

Memory judgements are always comprised of both information that is actually remembered as well as guessing or judgement processes under uncertainty.  If I do not remember something exactly, is it still likely that I have seen it? The processes themselves as well as their composition are initially not observable, but they can be captured individually by suitable formal models. In this regard, different approaches oppose each other, which assume either continuous signals or discrete states as representations of memory. The research group is actively involved this scientific controversy regarding the better model class (Bröder & Malejka, 2017; Bröder & Schütz, 2009; Bröder et al., 2013; Kellen et al., 2013; Malejka & Bröder, 2016; 2019; Starns et al., 2020).


Source memory

Source memory is the memory of the source from which we learned information or of contextual features that were present during learning. On the one hand, the problem of separating real memory processes from judgement processes does also concern source memory (Bröder & Meiser, 2007; Meiser & Bröder, 2002; Vogt & Bröder, 2007). On the other hand, it is sometimes precisely the judgement and reconstruction processes that reveal something about the constructive nature of memory (e.g..B. Bröder, Noethen, Schütz & Bay, 2007). At the same time, source memory can be used to gain information about how information is represented by contextual features (Arnold et al., 2020).

  • DFG-Projects

    • DFG-Project “Episodisches Kontextgedächtnis: Prozesse des Erinnerns und des Vergessens” (EpisKoP; Br 2130/2-1, Az. Br 2130/2-2, 36 Months, May 2002 – April 2005)
    • DFG-Project “Source memory measurement and recognition” (SoMMeR; Br 2130/3-1, 24 Months)
    • DFG-Project “Kontinuierliche versus diskrete Modellierung von Rekognitions- und Quellengedächtnis” (KoDiMo; BR 2130/7-1; 36 Months, Start Sept. 2011)
    • DFG-Project “Metamemory viewed though the judgment lens” (BR 2130/14-1, together with M. Undorf, Mannheim)
  • Literature

    • Arnold, N. R., Heck, D.W., Bröder, A., Meiser, T., & Boywitt, D. C. (in press). Testing Hypotheses about Binding in Context Memory with a Hierarchical Multinomial Modeling Approach - A Preregistered Study. Experimental Psychology.
    • Bröder, A., Kellen, D., Schütz, J., & Rohrmeier, C. (2013). Validating a two-high-threshold measurement model for confidence rating data in recognition. Memory, 21(8), 916-944.
    • Bröder, A., & Malejka, S. (2017). On a problematic procedure to manipulate response biases in recognition experiments: The case of 'implied' base rates. Memory, 25(6), 736-743.
    • Bröder, A., Noethen, D., Schütz, J., & Bay, P. (2007). Utilization of covariation knowledge in source monitoring: no evidence for implicit processes. Psychological Research, 71, 524-538.
    • Bröder, A., & Schütz, J. (2009). Recognition ROCs Are Curvilinear - or Are They? On Premature Arguments against the Two-High-Threshold Model of Recognition Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 35, 587-606.
    • Bröder, A., & Undorf, M. (2019). Metamemory viewed through the judgment lens. Acta Psychologica, 197, 153-165.
    • Kellen, D., Klauer., K.-C., & Bröder, A. (2013). Recognition memory models and binary-response ROCs: A comparison by minimum description length. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20(4), 693-719.
    • Malejka, S., & Bröder, A. (2019). Exploring the shape of signal-detection distributions in individual recognition ROC data. Journal of Memory and Language,104, 83-107.
    • Malejka, S., & Bröder, A. (2016). No source memory for unrecognized items when implicit feedback is avoided. Memory & Cognition, 44, 63-72.
    • Schütz, J., & Bröder, A. (2011). Signal detection and threshold models of source memory. Experimental Psychology, 58(4), 293-311.
    • Starns, J. J., Cataldo, A. M. , Rotello, C. M. et al. (in press). Assessing theoretical conclusions with blinded inference to investigate a potential inference crisis. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science. [contributing author]
    • Undorf, M., & Bröder, A. (in press). Cue Integration in Metamemory Judgments is Strategic. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
    • Undorf, M., Söllner, A., & Bröder, A. (2018). Simultaneous utilization of multiple cues in judgments of learning. Memory & Cognition,46, 507-519.
    • Vogt, V., & Bröder, A. (2007). Independent retrieval of source dimensions: An extension of results by Starns and Hicks (2005) and a comment on the ACSIM measure. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 33, 443-450