Memory accuracy in old age: Cognitive, metacognitive, and neurocognitive determinants

Ainat Pansky, Morris Goldsmith, Asher Koriat, Shiri Pearlman-Avnion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Age differences in memory accuracy were examined within a conceptual framework specifying the mediating role of metacognitive monitoring and control processes (Koriat & Goldsmith, 1996b). Replicating previous results, older adults showed poorer memory quantity and accuracy performance compared to young adults. Even when memory quantity performance was equated, by dividing the young adults' attention during encoding, the difference in memory accuracy was not eliminated. Examination of the underlying metacognitive processes revealed that the age-related reduction in memory accuracy stemmed partly from less effective memory monitoring, apparently the result of poorer encoding, and also from differences in two aspects of metacognitive control: (1) a more liberal report criterion - greater tendency to volunteer incorrect (and correct) answers, and (2) reduced control sensitivity - less reliance on subjective monitoring as a basis for responding. This latter control reduction was associated with lower neuropsychological measures of executive functioning, suggesting a decline in frontal-lobe efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-329
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Journal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Correspondence should be addressed to Ainat Pansky, Department of Psychology, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel. E-mail: This research was supported by the Charles E. Smith Extended Grant on the Subject of Memory, awarded by the National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel to AK, MG, and AP.


  • Ageing
  • Executive processes
  • Memory accuracy
  • Memory control
  • Metamemory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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