Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

February 2000


Published in Elders, Crime, and the Criminal Justice System: Myth, Perceptions, and Reality in the 21st Century, edited by Max B. Rothman, Burton D. Dunlop, and Pamela Entzel, Springer Series on Life Styles and Issues in Aging, New York, Springer, 2000. Copyright © 2000 Springer Publishing Company. Used by permission.


The present study compares younger and older adult witnesses’ susceptibility to misinformation. Previous research on the misinformation effect has not measured the relationship between the effect and individuals’ perceptions of their own memory abilities. Such perceptions, and general knowledge of one’s own memory processes, are referred to as “metamemory.” In order to examine the relationship between metamemory and the misinformation effect in the present study, participants also completed a questionnaire that assessed their perception of their memory functioning. Although older persons tend to perceive their memories as being faulty, the correlation between self-assessment of memory abilities and actual memory performance is relatively low (Zelinski, Gilewski, & Thompson, 1980). We therefore predicted that there would be a negligible relationship between participants’ self-assessed memory functioning and whether or not they were susceptible to misinformation, for both younger and older adults.