ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2013, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (10): 1094-1103.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.01094

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The Effect of Value Sequence on Value-directed Metamemory

YAN Yan;JIANG Yingjie;YANG Ling   

  1. (School of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China)
  • Received:2013-02-05 Published:2013-10-25 Online:2013-10-25
  • Contact: JIANG Yingjie

Abstract: Value-directed metamemory allows individuals to choose more important information to encode, preserve and retrieve in order to allocate their attention resources reasonably and maximize their effective memory performance when they are exposed to some information with different value. Previous research has mainly focused on the differences in value-directed metamomery between young and old people, as well as the impairment of value-directed metamemory in Alzheimer’s disease and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. However, there is little research concerning the factors affecting the level of value-directed metamomery. Value-directed metamemory improves memory efficacy by emphasizing high-value information. Therefore, it is of great importance to explore the factors promoting the Value-directed metamemory, such as the influence of value sequence on Value-directed metamemory. Value sequence refers to the Spatial or temporal sequence of value and words. In the present study, two experiments using a selectivity task were conducted to investigate the effect of value sequence on Value-directed metamemory, namely whether there was a value-sequence effect: one was to measure the memory capacity (mean number of words recalled), the other the memory efficiency/selectivity (the recall of high-value items relative to low-value items is the selectivity index, or SI). Subjects were told that they would be presented with six different lists of words, and that each list contained 12 words. They were informed that each word was paired with a number, and that this number indicated how much the word was “worth.” They were told that the values ranged from 1 to 12. Their tasks were to study and recall high-value words as many as possible in order to maximize their score in the experiment. Two experiments were conducted with 2 (value sequence: value-item/item-value) × 3 (value category: high-value/medium-value/low-value) within-subject factorial design. Experiment 1 explored that whether there was a value-sequence effect on SI in spatial sequence of words and value, and the results showed that the main effect of value sequence was not significant on SI. Experiment 2 explored that whether there was a value-sequence effect on SI in temporal sequence of words and value, and the results showed that value-word sequence produced a better value-directed metamemory, compared with word-value sequence when item and value were presented sequentially, and the diffidence reached a distinct level. The results of 2 experiments are as follows: 1) there is no value-sequence effect when value and words are presented spatially; 2) there is a value-sequence effect when value and words are presented temporally. To be specific, the priority of value improves the level of value-directed metamemory, and also the subjects could make use of the task experience to encode, retrieve and utilize high-value words more efficiently. By contrast, the subjects’ value-directed metamemory is relatively stable on the “words-value” condition, and they are not sensitive to updated task experience. In conclusion, our results reveal that there is an effect of value sequence on value-directed metamemory. The present findings do not only demonstrate how to promote people’s metamemory during the learning process, but also extend the research method of value-directed metamemory.

Key words: value-directed metamemory, value-sequence effect, metamemory