Why are children overconfident? Developmental differences in the implementation of accessibility cues when judging concept learning

van Loon, Mariëtte; de Bruin, Anique; Leppink, Jimmie; Roebers, Claudia (2017). Why are children overconfident? Developmental differences in the implementation of accessibility cues when judging concept learning. Journal of experimental child psychology, 158(June), pp. 77-94. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jecp.2017.01.008

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Children are often overconfident when monitoring their learning, which is harmful for effective control and learning. The current study investigated children’s (N = 167, age range 7–12 years) judgments of learning (JOLs) when studying difficult concepts. The main aims were (a) to investigate how JOL accuracy is affected by accessibility cues and (b) to investigate developmental changes in implementing accessibility cues in JOLs. After studying different concepts, children were asked to generate novel sentences and then to make JOLs, select concepts for restudy, and take a final test. Overconfidence for incorrect and incomplete test responses was reduced for older children in comparison with younger children. For older age groups, generating a sentence led to greater overconfidence compared with not being able to generate a sentence, which indicates that older children relied more on accessibility cues when making JOLs. This pattern differed in the youngest age group; younger children were generally overconfident regardless of whether they had generated sentences or not. Overconfidence was disadvantageous for effective control of learning for all age groups. These findings imply that instructions to encourage children to avoid metacognitive illusions need to be adapted to children’s developmental stage.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Developmental Psychology

Graduate School:

Swiss Graduate School for Cognition, Learning and Memory (SGS-CLM)

UniBE Contributor:

van Loon, Mariëtte Henrica and Roebers, Claudia


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology








Michelle Maurer

Date Deposited:

31 Jul 2017 09:00

Last Modified:

11 Sep 2017 19:07

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:






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