Metamemory Development

Metamemory Development

When and how do children develop an understanding that memory can fail in two fundamentally different ways. One type of memory failure involves forgetting, or being unable to remember a particular piece of information despite one’s best efforts. The other type involves “misremembering,” or confidently remembering something incorrectly. We (Jaswal & Dodson, 2009) have observed that 6-year-olds understand that memory is fallible not just because it is subject to forgetting, but also because it is subject to distortion. By contrast, 5-year-olds have a more limited awareness of the causes of memory failures and primarily memory failure in terms of forgetting (i.e., guessing based on the absence of remembered information).