, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 105-130

Metamemory Experiments in Neurological Populations: A Review

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Abstract

Metamemory refers to knowledge about one's memory capabilities and strategies that can aid memory, as well as the processes involved in memory self-monitoring. Although metamemory has been studied in cognitive psychology for several decades, there have been fewer studies investigating the neuropsychology of metamemory. In recent years, a growing number of studies of neurological patient groups have been conducted in order to investigate the neural correlates of metamemory. In this review, we examine the neuropsychological evidence that the frontal lobes are critically involved in monitoring and control processes, which are the central components of metamemory. The following conclusions are drawn from this literature: (1) There is a strong correlation between indices of frontal lobe function or structural integrity and metamemory accuracy (2) The combination of frontal lobe dysfunction and poor memory severely impairs metamemorial processes (3) Metamemory tasks vary in subject performance levels, and quite likely, in the underlying processes these different tasks measure, and (4) Metamemory, as measured by experimental tasks, may dissociate from basic memory retrieval processes and from global judgments of memory.