Are all judgments created equal?. An fMRI study of semantic and episodic metamemory predictions

Niv Reggev*, Maya Zuckerman, Anat Maril

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Metamemory refers to the ability of individuals to monitor and control their own memory performance. Although little theoretical consideration of the possible differences between the monitoring of episodic and of semantic knowledge has been published, results from patient and drug studies that used the " feeling of knowing" (FOK) paradigm show a selective impairment in the accuracy of episodic monitoring but not in its semantic counterpart. Similarly, neuroimaging studies provide indirect evidence for separate patterns of activation during episodic or semantic FOKs. However, the semantic-episodic distinction hypothesis has not been directly addressed. In the current event-related fMRI study, we used a within-subject, within-experiment comparison of the monitoring of semantic and episodic content. Whereas the common neural correlates of episodic and semantic FOKs observed in this study generally replicate the previous neuroimaging findings, several regions were found to be differentially associated with each task. Activity of the right inferior frontal gyrus was modulated by the semantic-episodic factor only during the negative predictions of retrieval, suggesting that negative predictions are based on partially distinct mechanisms during each task. A posterior midline network, known to be activated during episodic retrieval, was activated during episodic and not semantic monitoring, suggesting that episodic FOKs rely, to some extent, on common episodic retrieval processes. These findings suggest that theoretical accounts of the etiology and function of FOKs may benefit from incorporating the prediction directionality (positive/negative) and the memory domain (semantic/episodic) distinctions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1332-1342
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by The Israel Science Foundation (in part; grant No. 1418/06 to A.M.); the European Community under the Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant (in part; MIRG-CT-2007-046457 to A.M.); The National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel – Founded by The Charles E. Smith Family (in part, to A.M); N.R. was supported in part by the Samuel and Lottie Rudin Foundation.


  • Episodic
  • FMRI
  • Feeling-of-knowing
  • Metamemory
  • Semantic


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