Developmental relationships among metamemory, elaborative strategy use, and associative memory

Trisha Beuhring, Daniel W. Kee

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32 Scopus citations


Two experiments examined the relationships among metamemory knowledge, the use of associative memory strategies like elaboration, and cued-recall memory. In Experiment 1, 5th and 12th graders verbalized their strategies while studying noun pairs; their cued-recall memory of those pairs was then tested. Metamemory knowledge was assessed before or after this task. ANOVAs revealed developmental increases in associative strategies, cued recall, and metamemory. Multiple regression indicated the increase in associative strategies predicted all but 4% of the increase in cued recall; metamemory development in turn predicted all but 4% of the increase in associative strategies. Metamemory was a better predictor than a nonverbal measure of intelligence. The strong relationships were due partly to methodological refinements, including a counterbalanced design, a direct strategy measure, a reliable composite rather than single-item metamemory measure, ordinal rather than dichotomous scoring of metamemory items, and regression rather than χ2 analyses. The results of Experiment 1 were replicated in Experiment 2. Metamemory development also predicted most of the grade difference in cued recall that remained after study strategies were equated by elaboration instructions, suggesting it may explain improvements in retrieval strategies as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-400
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1987

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This report is based on a doctoral dissertation completed at the University of Southern California by, the first author, under the direction of the second author. The preparation of this paper was supported by various grants from the California State University, Fullerton, to the second author. The authors are grateful to Dr. Robert Cudeck for his advice on aspects of the statistical procedures used, to two anonymous reviewers for their detailed comments on an earlier version of this manuscript, and to Sue Houghton for her help in its preparation. Address reprint requests to T. Beuhring, Director, Personnel Research, University of Minnesota, 1919 University Ave., St. Paul. MN 55104.


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