Did I forget to remember or did I forget to remember remembering? Accuracy and generalization of meta-memory

  • Schahrasad Abiad


A substantial proportion of individuals, who have experienced childhood sexual abuse actually claim having had periods in which they did not recall their abuse (Fivush & Edwards, 2004). By now we know that in some cases it is not the event per se which has been forgotten, but rather people forgot having thought about the event in question at a given time (Schooler, 2001). This forgetting of one’s previous recall (meta-awareness) of an event has been termed forget-it-all-along effect and is not specifically related to traumatic experiences, but also common to our everyday experiences (Parks, 1999). Meta-awareness is one’s consciousness of the contents of subjective experience, which is different from the content of an experience. The aim of this article is to give insight into the role of meta-awareness in locating events backwards in time, i.e., retrospective memory. For this purpose, inaccuracies in different memory judgments will be compared, specifically the ability to judge one’s own prior recall of personal events and the ability to judge the time of occurrence of events reported in the public news. The implications of the findings for the concept of recovered memories will be discussed. -


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