Strategic regulation of grain size in memory reporting over time

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As time passes, people often remember the gist of an event though they cannot remember its details. Can rememberers exploit this difference by strategically regulating the "grain size" of their answers over time, to avoid reporting wrong information? A metacognitive model of the control of grain size in memory reporting was examined in two experiments, in which memory for quantitative information contained in a fictitious eyewitness transcript was tested either immediately, or after 1 day or 1 week. Given control over the grain size of their answers, participants' report accuracy still declined with delayed testing, but at a slower rate than when forced to provide only precise answers, remaining stable between the 1-day and 1-week tests. The observed pattern of change and stability in chosen-grain report accuracy was traced to the use of a stable control policy in the face of less effective monitoring judgments at delayed testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-525
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant to Morris Goldsmith and Asher Koriat from the Israel Science Foundation founded by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Facilities for conducting the research were provided by the Institute of Information Processing and Decision Making, University of Haifa, and by the Max Wertheimer Minerva Center for Cognitive Processes and Human Performance. We thank Amit Weinberg-Eliezer and Sarah Kate Bar for their help in preparing and running the experiments, and in reviewing the relevant literature.


  • Confidence judgments
  • Forgetting
  • Gist memory
  • Memory accuracy
  • Metamemory
  • Monitoring and control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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