Previous research has provided evidence of metamemory impairments in patients with frontal lobe damage on verbal episodic memory tasks. In the present study, we employed metamemory paradigms to investigate whether patients with frontal lesions show monitoring deficits on semantic memory tasks involving facial stimuli. Patients with frontal lobe damage and healthy control subjects made memory decisions to famous faces in a retrospective confidence judgment task and in a prospective feeling-of-knowing (FOK) task. Results indicated that frontal patients performed worse than controls on the retrospective confidence task, but there were no differences between the groups on the FOK task. These findings suggest that metamemory deficits in frontal patients are not confined to specific stimulus domains (words vs. faces) or memory systems (episodic vs. semantic). In addition, the dissociation between retrospective confidence judgments and FOK accuracy documented in this study and also in a recent report by Schnyer et al. suggesting that metamemory should not be considered a unitary function with a single neuroanatomic substrate. (JINS, 2005, 11, 668–676.)
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