LASA filenames:
LASA124 / LASA324

Contact: Almar Kok


Metamemory reflects the individuals’ perceptions of their own memory. It includes knowledge and use of memory strategies, self-perceptions and beliefs about the functioning of one’s memory (Jonker et al. 1997). The Metamemory in Adulthood (MIA; Dixon & Hultsch, 1983) is the most widely used self-report questionnaire on metamemory. The scale consists of seven subscales and 108 items (Dixon & Hultsch, 1984). Each of these subscales is supposed to measure a different aspect of metamemory:

  1. Task or knowledge of basic memory processes
  2. Strategy or knowledge and reported use of memory strategies
  3. Capacity or beliefs regarding one’s own memory capacity
  4. Change or perceived change in memory capacities
  5. Achievement or perception of one’s own motivation to perform well in memory tasks
  6. Anxiety or perceptions of the relationship between anxiety and memory
  7. Locus or perceived sense of control over memory skills

Each item is scored on a 5-points scale: (1) never, (2) seldom, (3) some of the time, (4) often, (5) always.

Measurement instrument in LASA

Metamemory was based on a shortened version of the Metamemory In Adulthood (MIA) questionnaire. In a pilot study in LASA, all items were used, except for the subscale Task, which appeared to have no correlation with age in several studies. Based on the correlations between subscales, internal consistency and face-validity, the 92 items were reduced to 30 (a-MIA). These items were included in a self-administered questionnaire that was left with the respondents after the interview.

Scale construction

Six scale scores are computed based on the MIA. The scale score consists of the sum of the scores for the items of that scale. Scores for each item range from 1-5. If the number of missing items exceeds the specified maximum for a scale, no scale score is computed. If the number of missing items is below the specified maximum, the mean score on the remaining items, multiplied by the number of missing items is added to the scale score.

The ‘strategy total’ subscale consists of 10 items, resulting in a score range of 10-50. If the number of missing items exceeds 3, no score is computed.

The ‘strategy 1’ subscale consists of 4 items (score range 4-20). If the number of missing items exceeds 1, no score is computed.

The ‘strategy 2’ subscale consists of 6 items (score range 6-30). If the number of missing items exceeds 2, no score is computed.

The ‘locus of control’ subscale consists of 5 items (score range 5-25). No score is computed if the number of missing items exceeds 1.

The ‘achievement’ subscale consists of 4 items (score range 4-20) and no more than 1 missing items is allowed.

Finally, the ‘anxiety’ subscale consists of 9 items (score range 9-45) and a maximum of 3 missing items is allowed.


LASAB124 / LASAC124 / LASAD124 (self-administered questionnaire, in Dutch)

Variable information

LASAB124 / LASAC124 / LASAD124;
LASAB324 / LASAC324 / LASAD324 (scale scores)

Availability of information per wave




¹ More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.

* 2B=baseline second cohort;
3B=baseline third cohort;
MB=migrants: baseline first cohort

Sa=data collected in self-administered questionnaire

Previous use in LASA

At baseline (B), 2303 of the LASA baseline sample (N=3707) filled out the postal questionnaire. From these, 527 did not complete the MIA (Metamemory In Adulthood questionnaire), leaving a sample of 1776 respondents. Factor analysis on the MIA revealed three dimensions: Anxiety (9 items), Strategy (10 items) and Locus (5 items). Six items that did not fit within these dimensions were distributed across three other factors, comparable with the subscales Capacity, Change and Achievement (Jonker et al. 1994).  One LASA study examined the metamemory‐memory relationship (Jonker et al. 1997).  The results suggest that for elderly persons, motivation and anxiety during testing are more important to memory functioning than self‐efficacy dimensions of metamemory. The setting in which memory performance is required appears to affect the kind of metamemory aspects that influence performance.


  1. Dixon RA & Hultsch DF. Structure and development of metamemory in adulthood. Journal of Gerontology, 1983, 38: 682-688.
  2. Dixon RA & Hultsch DF. The Metamemory in Adulthood (MIA) instrument. Psychol Doc, 1984, 14:3.
  3. Jonker C. Perceptions of memory functioning. In : Deeg DJH and Westendorp-de Seriere M (eds), Autonomy and well-being in the aging population. Report from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam 1992-1993. VU Uitgeverij, Amsterdam The Netherlands, 1994.
  4. Jonker C, Smits CHM & Deeg DJH. Affect-related metamemory and memory performance in a population-based sample of older adults. Educational Gerontology, 1997, 23:115-128.

Date of last update: December, 2019