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Psychol Rev. 1993 Oct;100(4):609-39.

How do we know that we know? The accessibility model of the feeling of knowing.

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Department of Psychology, University of Haifa, Israel.


Even when Ss fail to recall a solicited target, they can provide feeling-of-knowing (FOK) judgments about its availability in memory. Most previous studies addressed the question of FOK accuracy, only a few examined how FOK itself is determined, and none asked how the processes assumed to underlie FOK also account for its accuracy. The present work examined all 3 questions within a unified model, with the aim of demystifying the FOK phenomenon. The model postulates that the computation of FOK is parasitic on the processes involved in attempting to retrieve the target, relying on the accessibility of pertinent information. It specifies the links between memory strength, accessibility of correct and incorrect information about the target, FOK judgments, and recognition memory. Evidence from 3 experiments is presented. The results challenge the view that FOK is based on a direct, privileged access to an internal monitor.

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