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Department of Psychology


Publication details for Dr Susanne Weis

Do Lam,ATA, Axmacher,N, Fell,J, Staresina,BP, Gauggel,S, Wagner,T, Olligs,J & Weis, S (2012). Monitoring the Mind: The Neurocognitive Correlates of Metamemory. PLoS ONE 7(1): e30009.

Author(s) from Durham


Memory performance in everyday life is often far from perfect and therefore needs to be monitored and controlled by metamemory evaluations, such as judgments of learning (JOLs). JOLs support monitoring for goal-directed modification of learning. Behavioral studies suggested retrieval processes as providing a basis for JOLs. Previous functional imaging research on JOLs found a dissociation between processes underlying memory prediction, located in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and actual encoding success, located in the medial temporal lobe. However, JOL-specific neural correlates could not be identified unequivocally, since JOLs were given simultaneously with encoding. Here, we aimed to identify the neurocognitive basis of JOLs, i.e., the cognitive processes and neural correlates of JOL, separate from initial encoding. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we implemented a face-name paired associative design. In general, we found that actual memory success was associated with increased brain activation of the hippocampi bilaterally, whereas predicted memory success was accompanied by increased activation in mPFC, orbital frontal and anterior cingulate cortices. Masking brain activation during predicted memory success with activation during retrieval success revealed BOLD increases of the mPFC. Our findings indicate that JOLs actually incorporate retrieval processes.