In two experiments, we examine the degree to which ratings on self-report scales correlate with memory performance in laboratory tasks. In Experiment 1, 87 undergraduates (age 19-29) completed free recall, stem-cued recall, fluency, and prospective memory tasks. In Experiment 2, 71 participants (age 30-86) from the community completed free recall, associate-cued recall, recognition with and without distraction, fluency, and prospective memory tasks. In both studies, participants completed a set of rating scales on memory and need for cognition. Whereas experimental measures correlated with each other in predicted ways, and rating scale measures correlated with each other in predicted ways, few experimental measures correlated with rating scale measures. Our findings suggest that data from experimental tasks and self-report rating scales do not overlap and do not support the applied use of self-report scales in lieu of experimental data to assess memory functioning. Further research on and development of self-report measures is needed in order to maximize their potential as a tool to help people best assess their memory.
Gibson, J.M., Macan, T., Potter, K., & Cunningham, J. (2010). In an ideal world self-report scales predict memory experimental data. Journal of Cognitive Technology, 15(2), 44-60.