Aging and forgetting: Forgotten information is perceived as less important than is remembered information.

Recently, researchers have evaluated the mechanisms that contribute to younger adults’ metacognitive monitoring. According to analytic-processing theory, people’s beliefs about their memory are central to their monitoring judgments. Although this theory has received ample support with younger adults, it has yet to be evaluated with older adults. We aimed to address this gap in the literature. Specifically, we evaluated younger and older adults’ beliefs about forgetting, and the role of these beliefs in their judgments about forgotten information. Younger adults tend to recall forgotten information as being less important than remembered information (dubbed the forgetting bias). Moreover, this bias is largely driven by their beliefs about forgotten information. In the present research, we evaluated (a) whether older adults also show a forgetting bias and (b) the contribution of their beliefs to this bias. In Studies 1 and 2, participants completed a value-directed remembering task. Next, participants took a surprise cued-recall test for the values. In Study 2, we evaluated participants’ beliefs by having them make a memory-for-past-test judgment prior to recalling the values. In Study 3, we directly probed participants’ beliefs about the value of forgotten information with a survey. Older and younger adults demonstrated a forgetting bias. Moreover, and consistent with analytic-processing theory, people’s beliefs about forgotten information contributed to this bias. Thus, beliefs are an important mechanism that contribute to both older and younger adults’ metacognitive monitoring. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)