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We examined whether framing younger and older adults learning goals in terms of maximizing gains or minimizing losses impacts their ability to selectively remember high-value information. Specifically, we presented younger and older adults with lists of words paired with point values and participants were either told that they would receive the value associated with each word if they recalled it on a test or that they would lose the points associated with each word if they failed to recall it on the test. We also asked participants to predict the likelihood of recalling each word to deter- mine if younger and older adults were metacognitively aware of any potential framing effects. Results revealed that older adults expected to be more selective when their goals were framed in terms of losses, but younger adults expected to be more selective when their goals were framed in terms of gains. However, this was not the case as both younger and older adults were more selective for high-value informa- tion when their goals were framed in terms of maximizing gains compared with minimizing losses. Thus, the framing of learning goals can impact metacognitive decisions and subsequent memory in both younger and older adults.more » « lessFree, publicly-accessible full text available July 6, 2024
Abstract Changing how an issue is framed can influence both decision-making and metacognition, but framing a memory task in terms of gains and losses could also impact how learners prioritize information according to its value or importance. We investigated how framing task instructions and feedback in terms of gains and losses influences learners’ ability to selectively remember valuable information at the expense of low-value information. Specifically, we presented learners with to-be-remembered words paired with point values and either told participants how many points they scored (the sum of the values of recalled words) or lost (the sum of the values of not-recalled words) on each list, with participants’ goal being to maximize their scores or minimize their losses, respectively. Overall, participants were more selective for high-value words when their goals were framed in terms of point gains compared with when their goals were framed in terms of losses, and learners’ metacognitive predictions of performance (JOLs) generally mapped onto this trend. Thus, framing in terms of losses for forgetting can reduce memory selectivity, perhaps because even small losses are salient, indicating that framing effects are not limited to decision-making but can influence memory and metacognitive processes as well.more » « less