Nonverbal Cues of Meta-Memory Awareness in Older Adults

Mandy VisserTilburg University
Marie PostmaTilburg University
Emiel KrahmerTilburg University
Marc SwertsTilburg University

Abstract

This study aimed to examine nonverbal expressions of older adults performing a Feeling-of-Knowing (FOK) meta-memory task, since nonverbal cues are considered to serve as indicators of memory deficit awareness. In a production experiment, we collected a variety of recalled and unrecalled answers from older adults (mean age = 79.5) and tested their accuracy. Nonverbal behavior was annotated manually and automatically using facial expression detection software. We found an overall effect of FOK ratings on the use of FOK related nonverbal features. For recalled items, the participants used more nonverbal cues with lower FOKs than with higher FOKs. For unrecalled items, the opposite effect was found. A subsequent perceptual study showed that third-party judges were able to estimate older adults’ FOK correctly. Overall, this study shows that the elderly can be aware of their memory deficits and display the associated nonverbal cues in a manner comparable to younger age groups.

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