Time and memory distrust shape the dynamics of recollection and belief-in-occurrence

Yikang Zhang, Henry Otgaar, Robert A. Nash, Linda Rosar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study examined how people’s metamemory judgments of recollection and belief-in-occurrence change over time. Furthermore, we examined to what extent these judgments are affected by memory distrust—the subjective appraisal of one’s memory functioning—as measured by the Memory Distrust Scale (MDS) and the Squire Subjective Memory Scale (SSMQ). Participants (N = 234) studied pictorial stimuli and were tested on some of these stimuli later in the same session, but were tested on other stimuli 1, 2, 4, 8, and 17 days later. Recollection and belief ratings were correlated highly and followed similar declining patterns over time. However, belief decreased relatively more slowly than recollection, such that the discrepancy between recollection and belief increased over time. Memory distrust moderated the association between recollection and belief, with this association being weaker among people who reported greater (versus lower) memory distrust. Memory distrust also interacted with retention period to predict memory judgments. Two measures of memory distrust diverged in their predictive power. In particular, only the MDS predicted the spontaneous reporting of nonbelieved memories. Our results provide support to the theoretical perspective that belief-in-occurrence is a summative judgment informed not only by recollective phenomenology but also by metamemorial beliefs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-501
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Early online date9 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.


  • Recollection
  • autobiographical belief
  • forgetting
  • memory distrust
  • metacognition


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