Inexpert calibration of comprehension

Arthur M. Glenberg, William Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


Students with a wide range of course work in physics or music theory read expositions in both domains. After reading 16 texts, each student provided a judgment of confidence in his/her ability to verify inferences based on the central principles of the texts. The primary dependent variable was calibration of comprehension, the degree of association between confidence and performance on the inference test. Two results of most interest were that (1) expertise in a domain was inversely related to calibration and (2) subjects were well calibrated across domains. Both of these results can be accommodated by a self-classification strategy: Confidence judgments are based on self-classification as expert or nonexpert in the domain of the text, rather than on an assessment of the degree to which the text was comprehended. Because self-classifications are not well differentiated within a domain, application of the strategy by experts produces poor calibration within a domain. Nonetheless, because self-classification is generally consistent with performance across domains, application of the strategy produces calibration across domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-93
Number of pages10
JournalMemory & Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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