Influence of encoding strength on the font size effect
【Abstract】Judgments of learning (JOLs) are characterized as metacognitive judgments on the likelihood that studied items can be successfully retrieved in a future memory test. Previous studies found that people employ different types of cues to inform their online JOLs. Some of these cues can guide JOLs to accurately reflect memory status but others cannot (and are even misleading in some situations). A widely studied cue for JOL formation is subjective processing experience (e.g., perceptual fluency) while completing a given task, which often confers metacognitive illusions. It has been found that people give higher JOLs to large than to small words, although font size has minimal influence on retention, a phenomenon termed the font size effect on JOLs. A potential mechanism underlying the effect is perceptual fluency: Large words are perceived more fluently than small ones, and fluent processing experience of large words induces a feeling of knowing, which drives people to offer higher JOLs. The font size effect is important because it spotlights a dissociation between metacognitive judgments and memory itself. The current study aims to explore the influences of encoding strength on the font size effect, and to explore practical techniques to calibrate metacognitive illusions induced by perceptual fluency. Experiment 1 aimed to delineate the role of perceptual fluency in the font size effect. Twenty-six participants first completed a continuous identification (CID) task to measure the difference in perceptual fluency (indexed by response times; RTs) between large (70-pt) and small (9-pt) words, after which they attended a classic learning task. In the learning task, participants studied large and small words one-by-one, for 2 s each, and made item-by-item JOLs. Immediately following the learning task, they completed a distractor task, followed by a free recall test. The results showed that, in the CID task, participants responded much faster to large than to small words, indicating the natural difference in perceptual fluency between large and small words. In addition, perceptual fluency (i.e., RTs in the CID task) significantly correlated with JOLs, reflecting the fluency effect on JOLs. More importantly, perceptual fluency significantly mediated the font size effect on JOLs, supporting the claim that perceptual fluency is responsible for the font size effect. Experiment 2 manipulated study durations to investigate the influence of enhancing encoding strength (through prolonging study duration) on the font size effect. Specifically, three groups of participants studied each word for 2 s, 4 s, and 8 s, respectively, and made item-by-item JOLs. The results demonstrated that prolonging study duration correspondingly decreased the font size effect on JOLs. It is, however, worth highlighting that expanding study time cannot fully eliminate the font size effect because the results still showed a significant font size effect even when the study time was increased to 8 s. Experiment 3 was conducted to further investigate the effectiveness of enhancing encoding strength for calibration of the font size effect. A sentence-making group was instructed to encode each word by generating a sentence to deepen the level of processing (i.e., encoding strength). By contrast, there were no explicit requirements of encoding strategies in the control group (i.e., participants in the control group could use any strategies they liked). In the control group, the classic font size effect on JOLs was successfully replicated; of critical interest, the effect disappeared in the sentence-making group. Such results reflect the power of improving encoding strength to calibrate metacognitive illusions induced by perceptual features. In summary, the current study establishes that perceptual fluency is at least one of the mechanisms underlying the font size effect on JOLs; prolonging study duration reduces but fails to eliminate the font size effect on JOLs; more importantly, directly deepening the level of processing through sentence-making is a valid strategy to calibrate metacognitive illusions induced by perceptual features. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed in the main text.
【Keywords】 judgments of learning; the font size effect; encoding strength; metacognitive illusions;
. 1 In the CID task, the pre-experiment used the meaningless symbol (e.g., # #) as the mask, but the meaningless symbol cannot completely mask the Chinese learning words. Therefore, we choose the shape-like characters as the mask (e.g., 鳠鳠), and there was no semantic relationship between the masked target words and mask (Yan et al., 2013). [^Back]
Ball, B. H., Klein, K. N., & Brewer, G. A. (2014). Processing fluency mediates the influence of perceptual information on monitoring learning of educationally relevant materials. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 20(4), 336–348.
Belmore, S. M. (1981). Imagery and semantic elaboration in hypermnesia for words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning & Memory, 7(3), 191–203.
Benjamin, A. S., Bjork, R. A., & Schwartz, B. L. (1998). The mismeasure of memory: When retrieval fluency is misleading as a metamnemonic index. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 127(1), 55–68.
Besken, M., & Mulligan, N. W. (2014). Perceptual fluency, auditory generation, and metamemory: Analyzing the perceptual fluency hypothesis in the auditory modality. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(2), 429–440.
Bjork, R. A., Dunlosky, J., & Kornell, N. (2013). Self-regulated learning: Beliefs, techniques, and illusions. Annual Review of Psychology, 64(1), 417–444.
Bradley, M. M., & Lang, P. J. (2015). Memory, emotion, and pupil diameter: Repetition of natural scenes. Psychophysiology, 52(9), 1186–1193.
Carpenter, S. K., Mickes, L., Rahman, S., & Fernandez, C. (2016). The effect of instructor fluency on students’ perceptions of instructors, confidence in learning, and actual learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 22(2), 161–172.
Carpenter, S. K., Wilford, M. M., Kornell, N., & Mullaney, K. M. (2013). Appearances can be deceiving: Instructor fluency increases perceptions of learning without increasing actual learning. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20(6), 1350–1356.
Castel, A. D. (2008). Metacognition and learning about primacy and recency effects in free recall: The utilization of intrinsic and extrinsic cues when making judgments of learning. Memory & Cognition, 36(2), 429–437.
Chen, G. & Fu, X. Advances in Psychological Science (心理科学进展), 12(2): 176–184 (2004).
Chumbley, J. I., & Balota, D. A. (1984). A word’s meaning affects the decision in lexical decision. Memory & Cognition, 12(6), 590–606.
Cooper, E. H., & Pantle, A. J. (1967). The total time hypothesis in verbal learning. Psychological Bulletin, 68(4), 221–234.
Flavell, J. H. (1979). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of cognitive-developmental inquiry. American Psychologist, 34(10), 906–911.
Hertzog, C., Dunlosky, J., & Sinclair, S. M. (2010). Episodic feeling-of-knowing resolution derives from the quality of original encoding. Memory & Cognition, 38(6), 771–784.
Hertzog, C., Fulton, E. K., Sinclair, S. M., & Dunlosky, J. (2014). Recalled aspects of original encoding strategies influence episodic feelings of knowing. Memory & Cognition, 42(1), 126–140.
Hu, X., Li, T., Zheng, J., Su, N., Liu, Z., & Luo, L. (2015). How much do metamemory beliefs contribute to the font- size effect in judgments of learning?. PloS One, 10(11), e0142351.
Koriat, A. (1997). Monitoring one's own knowledge during study: A cue-utilization approach to judgments of learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 126(4), 349–370.
Luo, J. & Lin, Z. Acta Psychologica Sinica (心理学报), 32(1): 25−29 (2000).
Lupker, S. J., Harbluk, J. L., & Patrick, A. S. (1991). Memory for things forgotten. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 17(5), 897–907.
Magreehan, D. A., Serra, M. J., Schwartz, N. H., & Narciss, S. (2016). Further boundary conditions for the effects of perceptual disfluency on judgments of learning. Metacognition and Learning, 11(1), 35–56.
McCabe, D. P., & Soderstrom, N. C. (2011). Recollection- based prospective metamemory judgments are more accurate than those based on confidence: Judgments of remembering and knowing (JORKs). Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140(4), 605–621.
Mueller, M. L., Dunlosky, J., Tauber, S. K., & Rhodes, M. G. (2014). The font size effect on judgments of learning: Does it exemplify fluency effects or reflect people’s beliefs about memory?. Journal of Memory and Language, 70, 1–12.
Mulligan, N. W., Buchin, Z. L., & West, J. T. (2019). Assessing why the testing effect is moderated by experimental design. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Advance online publication.
Nelson, T. O., Dunlosky, J., Graf, A., & Narens, L. (1994). Utilization of metacognitive judgments in the allocation of study during multitrial learning. Psychological Science, 5(4), 207–213.
Rawson, K. A., O'Neil, R., & Dunlosky, J. (2011). Accurate monitoring leads to effective control and greater learning of patient education materials. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 17(3), 288–302.
Rhodes, M. G., & Castel, A. D. (2008). Memory predictions are influenced by perceptual information: Evidence for metacognitive illusions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 137(4), 615–625.
Rhodes, M. G., & Castel, A. D. (2009). Metacognitive illusions for auditory information: Effects on monitoring and control. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 16(3), 550–554.
Rummer, R., Schweppe, J., & Schwede, A. (2016). Fortune is fickle: Null-effects of disfluency on learning outcomes. Metacognition and Learning, 11(1), 57–70.
Seli, P., Risko, E. F., Smilek, D., & Schacter, D. L. (2016). Mind-wandering with and without intention. Trends in cognitive sciences, 20(8), 605–617.
Soderstrom, N. C., & Rhodes, M. G. (2014). Metacognitive illusions can be reduced by monitoring recollection during study. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 26(1), 118–126.
Strukelj, A., Scheiter, K., Nyström, M., & Holmqvist, K. (2016). Exploring the lack of a disfluency effect: Evidence from eye movements. Metacognition and Learning, 11(1), 71–88.
Susser, J. A., Mulligan, N. W., & Besken, M. (2013). The effects of list composition and perceptual fluency on judgments of learning (jols). Memory & Cognition, 41(7), 1000–1011.
Tauber, S., & Dunlosky, J. (2016). A brief history of metamemory research and handbook overview. In S. Tauber & J. Dunlosky (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of metamemory (pp. 7–22). New York: Oxford University Press.
Toftness, A. R., Carpenter, S. K., Geller, J., Lauber, S., Johnson, M., & Armstrong, P. I. (2018). Instructor fluency leads to higher confidence in learning, but not better learning. Metacognition and Learning, 13(1), 1–14.
Undorf, M., & Bröder, A. (2019). Cue integration in metamemory judgements is strategic. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 73(4), 629–642.
Undorf, M., Söllner, A., & Bröder, A. (2018). Simultaneous utilization of multiple cues in judgments of learning. Memory & Cognition, 46(4), 507–519.
Undorf, M., Zimdahl, M. F., & Bernstein, D. M. (2017). Perceptual fluency contributes to effects of stimulus size on judgments of learning. Journal of Memory and Language, 92, 293–304.
van Gog, T., & Scheiter, K. (2010). Eye tracking as a tool to study and enhance multimedia learning. Learning and Instruction, 20(2), 95–99.
Vuorre, M. (2017). bmlm: Bayesian multilevel mediation. R package version 1.3.4. Retrieved from https://cran.r-project.org/package=bmlm
Ward, E. V., Berry, C. J., & Shanks, D. R. (2013). An effect of age on implicit memory that is not due to explicit contamination: Implications for single and multiple- systems theories. Psychology and Aging, 28(2), 429–442.
Yan, G., Zhang, Q., Zhang, L. et al. Journal of Psychological Science (心理科学), 36(6): 1317–1322 (2013).
Yan, V. X., Bjork, E. L., & Bjork, R. A. (2016). On the difficulty of mending metacognitive illusions: A priori theories, fluency effects, and misattributions of the interleaving benefit. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(7), 918–933.
Yang, C., Huang, T. S. T., & Shanks, D. R. (2018). Perceptual fluency affects judgments of learning: The font size effect. Journal of Memory and Language, 99, 99–110.
Yap, M. J., Sibley, D. E., Balota, D. A., Ratcliff, R., & Rueckl, J. (2015). Responding to nonwords in the lexical decision task: Insights from the English lexicon project. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 41(3), 597–613.
Zhang, X. Advances in Psychological Science (心理科学进展), 18(4): 639–645 (2010).