Bryce Boyle

Exploring Models of Feeling of Knowing in Memory Retrieval

Faculty Mentor: Justin Li, Computer Science & Cognitive Science Departments

Major: Computer Science

Funding: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship


Feeling of knowing (FOK) is a memory judgement as to whether something is known, made before retrieving that piece of information. In my research, I explore how FOK changes over time by looking at its different possible representations. There is no standardized method to finding FOK in cognitive science, so I combined the ideas of multiple existing hypotheses to create five different algorithms and tested them through a series of experiments. These experiments included a recreation of a paired associative recall study and a series of complex trivia questions, and the results were compared to expected human thought processes with changes in FOK being tracked over time. Observing more complex thought processes allowed for the tracking of historic feeling of knowing, or FOK that takes into account past calculations made. It was found through my experiments that no individual algorithm produced the expected results for either set of tasks. Some were successful at matching expected human thought processes for individual questions, however none of them performed consistently across all questions tested. Despite these results, I have found that exploring feeling of knowing as a process and observing how it changes throughout a retrieval is worth examining more deeply. No current literature approaches feeling of knowing as a dynamic measurement but rather a one time judgement made before the first memory retrieval. Future work for this research includes creating more complex FOK algorithms and testing them on a larger knowledge base to better represent their performance in the human mind.

Watch my research presentation below.

Questions or comments? Contact me at:



Download the poster