The Cue-Familiarity Heuristic in Metacognition Article

Metcalfe, J, Schwartz, BL, Joaquim, SG. (1993). The Cue-Familiarity Heuristic in Metacognition . JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-LEARNING MEMORY AND COGNITION, 19(4), 851-861. 10.1037/0278-7393.19.4.851

cited authors

  • Metcalfe, J; Schwartz, BL; Joaquim, SG


  • Four experiments contrasted the cue-familiarity hypothesis of feeling-of-knowing judgements (FKJs) and tip-of-the-tongue feelings (TOTs) to the target-retrievability hypothesis. Familiarity of the cues was contrasted to memorability of the targets in a paired-associate design (e.g., A-B A-B, A-B A-B', A-B A-D, A-B C-D), in which the number of repetitions of the cue A terms was dissociated from the memorability of the target B terms. Little support was found for the target-retrievability hypothesis, because in none of the 4 experiments were FKJs related to target memorability. In one experiment, an omnibus retrieval hypothesis (which implicates total retrieval rather than just correct retrieval) and the cue-familiarity hypothesis produced isomorphic predictions that were borne out by the FKJ and TOT results. All 4 experiments supported the cue-familiarity hypothesis, because FKJs and TOTs were directly related to the number of presentations (and thereby the familiarity) of the cues.

publication date

  • January 1, 1993

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 851

end page

  • 861


  • 19


  • 4