Prospective Memory Predictions in Aging: Increased Overconfidence in Older Adults

Stéphanie Cauvin (Corresponding Author), Christopher J. A. Moulin, Céline Souchay, Matthias Kliegel, Katharina M. Schnitzspahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study investigated whether young and older adults can predict their future performance on an event-based prospective memory (PM) task. Metacognitive awareness was assessed by asking participants to give judgments-of-learning (JOLs) on an item-level for the prospective (remembering that something has to be done) and retrospective (remembering what to do) PM component. In addition, to explore possible age differences in the ability to adapt predictions to the difficulty of the task, encoding time and the relatedness between the prospective and the retrospective PM component were varied. Results revealed that both age groups were sensitive to our task manipulations and adapted their predictions appropriately. Moreover, item-level JOLs indicated that for the retrospective component, young and older adults were equally accurate and slightly overconfident. For the prospective component, predictions were fairly accurate in young adults, while older adults were overconfident. Thus, results suggest that general overconfidence is increased in older adults and concerns both components of PM. Findings regarding the conceptual differences between the prospective and retrospective components of a PM task, as well as the link between aging and metamemory in PM are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-459
Number of pages24
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Issue number5
Early online date13 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • prospective memory
  • metacognition
  • udgment-of-learning
  • aging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Ageing
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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