Abstract

Objective: Metamemory, defined as the ability to self-evaluate the capacity, accuracy, and operations of one's memory, is not routinely assessed in the standard neuropsychological examination. Metamemory is distinct from memory proficiency, with a purported neuroanatomical locus in the frontal lobes. The present study evaluated whether overconfidence regarding inaccurate semantic information, which is a type of metamemory impairment, is related to neuropsychological impairment in other domains, such as reasoning, memory, and executive functioning. Method: In the context of a private neuropsychology practice, a consecutive series of examinees with TBI ranging from mild to severe (n = 38) or with brain damage due to other causes (n = 11) were administered the Information subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III (WAIS-III) as part of a full neuropsychological assessment. After answering the questions, and without any feedback regarding their response accuracy, examinees were asked to rate their answer confidence in the order of original administration, using a seven-point Likert scale (1 = very unsure to 7 = very sure). Examinees, whose ages ranged from 19 to 71, were excluded if they displayed malingering or had a psychiatric diagnosis. Results: Correct answers were rated with more certainty than incorrect answers (p < .0001), and higher confidence for incorrect answers was significantly correlated with poorer performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (for categories completed r = −.56, p < .0001; for perseverative errors r = .47, p < .005). Conclusion(s): These findings suggests an association between compromised executive functioning and metamemory abilities in retrospective confidence judgments (RCJ).