The association between memory self-efficacy (MSE) and memory performance is highly documented in the literature. However, previous studies have produced inconsistent results, and there is no consensus on the existence of a significant link between these two variables. In order to evaluate whether or not the effect size of the MSE-memory performance relationship in healthy adults is significant and to test several theory-driven moderators, we conducted a meta-analysis of published and unpublished studies. A random-effects model analysis of data from 107 relevant studies (673 effect sizes) indicated a low but significant weighted mean correlation between MSE and memory performance, r = .15, 95% CI [.13, .17]. In addition, the mean effect size was significantly moderated by the way MSE was assessed. Memory performance was more strongly related to concurrent MSE (perceived current ability to perform a given task) than it was to global MSE (perceived usual memory ability in general). Furthermore, we found marginally larger MSE-memory performance correlations when the memory situations used to assess MSE involved familiar stimuli. No effect of the method used to assess global MSE or domain MSE (memory rating vs. performance predictions) was found. The results also show that the resource demands of the memory tasks have a moderator effect, as the MSE-performance correlation is larger with free-recall and cued-recall tasks than it is with recognition tasks. Limitations (generalization issues, moderators not considered) and implications for future research are discussed.
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