A role for metamemory in cognitive offloading.

A role for metamemory in cognitive offloading. Cognition. 2019 Jul 01;193:104012 Authors: Hu X, Luo L, Fleming SM Abstract Cognitive offloading refers to our reliance on the external environment in order to reduce cognitive demand. For instance, people write notes on paper or smartphones in order not to forget shopping lists or upcoming appointments. A plausible hypothesis is that such offloading relies on metamemory - our confidence in our future memory performance. However, this hypothesis has not been directly tested, and it remains unclear when and how people use external sources to aid their encoding and retrieval of information. In four experiments, here we asked participants to learn word pairs and decide whether to offload some of the pairs by "saving" them on a computer. In the memory test, they had the opportunity to use this saved information on half of trials. Participants adaptively saved the most difficult items and used this offloaded information to boost their memory performance. Crucially, participants' confidence judgments about their memory predicted their decisions to use the saved information, indicating that cognitive offloading is associated with metacognitive evaluation about memory performance. These findings were accommodated by a Bayesian computational model in which beliefs about the performance boost gained from using offloaded information are negatively coupled to an evaluation of memory ability. Together our findi...
Source: Cognition - Category: Neurology Authors: Tags: Cognition Source Type: research

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