Source monitoring can be influenced by information external to the study context, such as beliefs and general knowledge (Johnson, Hashtroudi, & Lindsay, 1993). We investigated the extent to which metamnemonic judgments predict memory for items and sources when schematic information about the sources is or is not provided at encoding. Participants made judgments of learning (JOLs) to statements presented by two speakers, and were informed of the occupation of each speaker either before or after the encoding session. Prior knowledge decreased participants’ tendency to erroneously attribute statements to schematically consistent but episodically incorrect speakers, replicating earlier work. The origin of this effect can be understood by examining the relationship between JOLs and performance: In the absence of prior knowledge, JOLs were equally predictive of item and source memory, but were exclusively predictive of source memory when participants knew of the relationship between speakers and statements during study. Background knowledge determines the information that people solicit in service of metamnemonic judgments, suggesting that these judgments reflect control processes during encoding that reduce schematic errors.
- source memory