Fredrik Jönsson Foto: Datorenheten/HD

Fredrik Jönsson

Professor, bitr prefekt

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Works at Department of Psychology
Telephone 08-16 38 76
Visiting address Frescati hagväg 14
Room 320
Postal address Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I defended my thesis at Uppsala University in 2005, and I am currently employed as a professor at the Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, where I also completed my postdoc time. I’ve led and taught a range of courses from undergraduate (first level) to PhD student level (third level), including topics like psychological testing, perception, introductory psychology, cognitive psychology, metacognition, and degree projects. Currently, I am co-head of department and the head of the PhD program.



I am interested in both applied and theoretical issues relating to memory, learning and metacognition. Concerning metacognition, my interests include investigations of how we make metacognitive judgments and what affects these judgments, how accurately we monitor our learning (ease of learning judgments, judgments of learning) and how they relate to control (study-regulation), and additionally students’ knowledge of how to best go about learning (metacognitive knowledge). My memory research has focused on olfactory memory in the short and the long term, but lately more on different learning strategies, such as the testing effect – a reliable benefit on long-term retention through testing memory as compared to restudying previously learned information. Though, memory testing does not only benefit learning and retention, it may also play an important role in metacognition. For example, memory testing helps learners to diagnose what they have learned. In short, how should we go about to learn and how to understand learning?
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A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2019. Philip U. Gustafsson, Torun Lindholm, Fredrik U. Jönsson. Frontiers in Psychology 10

    Evaluating eyewitness testimonies has proven a difficult task. Recent research, however, suggests that incorrect memories are more effortful to retrieve than correct memories, and confidence in a memory is based on retrieval effort. We aimed to replicate and extend these findings, adding retrieval latency as a predictor of memory accuracy. Participants watched a film sequence with a staged crime and were interviewed about its content. We then analyzed retrieval effort cues in witness responses. Results showed that incorrect memories included more “effort cues” than correct memories. While correct responses were produced faster than incorrect responses, delays in responses proved a better predictor of accuracy than response latency. Furthermore, participants were more confident in correct than incorrect responses, and the effort cues partially mediated this confidence-accuracy relation. In sum, the results support previous findings of a relationship between memory accuracy and objectively verifiable cues to retrieval effort.

  • 2019. Philip Gustafsson, Torun Lindholm, Fredrik U. Jönsson.

    Do sincere eyewitness testimonies contain objective markers of accuracy? We show that expressions of effort in memory retrieval predict eyewitness accuracy. Incorrect memories are recalled with greater effort than correct memories.

  • 2019. Torun Lindholm, Fredrik Jönsson, Marco Tullio Liuzza.

    We investigate whether retrieval effort cues are related to eyewitness accuracy, and the relative role of effort cues and witnesses’ confidence in predicting memory. The results demonstrate that verbal and paraverbal retrieval effort cues are strongly related to witnesses’ accuracy. Moreover, subjective confidence in memory rests on these cues.

  • 2018. Veit Kubik (et al.). Frontiers in Psychology 9

    Successful retrieval from memory is a desirably difficult learning event that reduces the recall decrement of studied materials over longer delays more than restudying does. The present study was the first to test this direct testing effect for performed and read action events (e.g., light a candle) in terms of both recall accuracy and recall speed. To this end, subjects initially encoded action phrases by either enacting them or reading them aloud (i.e., encoding type). After this initial study phase, they received two practice phases, in which the same number of action phrases were restudied or retrieval-practiced (Exp. 1-3), or not further processed (Exp. 3; i.e., practice type). This learning session was ensued by a final cued-recall test both after a short delay (2 min) and after a long delay (1 week: Exp. 1 and 2; 2 weeks: Exp. 3). To test the generality of the results, subjects retrieval practiced with either noun-cued recall of verbs (Exp. 1 and 3) or verb-cued recall of nouns (Exp. 2) during the intermediate and final tests (i.e., test type). We demonstrated direct benefits of testing on both recall accuracy and recall speed. Repeated retrieval practice, relative to repeated restudy and study-only practice, reduced the recall decrement over the long delay, and enhanced phrases' recall speed already after 2 min, and this independently of type of encoding and recall test. However, a benefit of testing on long-term retention only emerged (Exp. 3), when prolonging the recall delay from 1 to 2 weeks, and using different sets of phrases for the immediate and delayed final tests. Thus, the direct testing benefit appears to be highly generalizable even with more complex, action-oriented stimulus materials, and encoding manipulations. We discuss these results in terms of the distribution-based bifurcation model.

  • 2018. Torun Lindholm, Fredrik U. Jönsson, Marco Tullio Liuzza. Journal of experimental psychology. Applied 24 (4), 534-542

    Previous research has documented that correct eyewitness memories are more rapidly recalled and recognized than are incorrect ones, suggesting that retrieval ease is diagnostic of memory accuracy. Building on these findings, the current research explores whether verbal and paraverbal cues to retrieval effort could be used to determine the accuracy of honestly reported eyewitness statements about a crime event. Moreover, we examine the relative role of such effort cues and witnesses’ subjective confidence in predicting memory accuracy. The results of 2 studies demonstrate that objectively verifiable verbal and paraverbal cues to retrieval effort are strongly related to honest witnesses’ memory accuracy and that several of these cues contribute uniquely to predict accuracy. Moreover, we show that subjective confidence in a memory rests on these effort cues and that the cues mediate the confidence−accuracy relation. Given research showing that most people have vast difficulties in judging the quality of others’ memories, combined with the scarcity of research on predictors of genuinely reported memories, these initial findings suggest unexplored alternatives that may prove highly useful for improving accuracy judgments, with potentially far-reaching significance not the least in the legal context.

  • 2018. Andreas Jemstedt, Bennett L. Schwartz, Fredrik U. Jönsson. Memory 26 (6), 807-815

    Processing fluency influences many types of judgments. Some metacognitive research suggests that the influence of processing fluency may be mediated by participants’ beliefs. The current study explores the influence of processing fluency and beliefs on ease-of-learning (EOL) judgments. In two experiments (Exp 1: n = 94; Exp 2: n = 146), participants made EOL judgments on 24 six-letter concrete nouns, presented in either a constant condition (high fluency) with upper-case letters (e.g., BUCKET) or an alternating condition (low fluency) with mixed upper- and lower-case letters (e.g., bUcKeT). After judging words individually, participants studied the words and completed a free recall test. Finally, participants indicated what condition they believed made the words more likely to be learned. Results show constant-condition words were judged as more likely to be learned than alternating condition words, but the difference varied with beliefs. Specifically, the difference was biggest when participants believed the constant condition made words more likely to be learned, followed by believing there was no difference, and then believing the alternating condition made words more likely to be learned. Thus, we showed that processing fluency has a direct effect on EOL judgments, but the effect is moderated by beliefs.

  • 2017. Tova Stenlund, Fredrik U. Jönsson, Bert Jonsson. Educational Psychology 37 (2), 145-156

    This paper focuses on the factors that are likely to play a role in individual learning outcomes from group discussions, and it includes a comparison featuring test-enhanced learning. A between-groups design (N = 98) was used to examine the learning effects of feedback if provided to discussion groups, and to examine whether group discussions benefit learning when compared to test-enhanced learning over time. The results showed that feedback does not seem to have any effect if provided to a discussion group, and that test-enhanced learning leads to better learning than the discussion groups, independent of retention interval. Moreover, we examined whether memory and learning might be influenced by the participants’ need for cognition (NFC). The results showed that those scoring high on NFC remembered more than those who scored low. To conclude, testing trumps discussion groups from a learning perspective, and the discussion groups were also the least beneficial learning context for those scoring low on NFC.

  • 2016. Veit Kubik (et al.). Journal of Cognitive Psychology 28 (2), 209-219

    Testing memory typically enhances subsequent re-encoding of information (“indirect” testing effect) and, as compared to restudy, it also benefits later long-term retention (“direct” testing effect). We investigated the effect of testing on subsequent restudy and 1-week retention of action events (e.g. “water the plant”). In addition, we investigated if the type of recall practice (noun-cued vs. verb-cued) moderates these testing benefits. The results showed an indirect testing effect that increased following noun-cued recall of verbs as compared to verb-cued recall of nouns. In contrast, a direct testing effect on the forgetting rate of performed actions was not reliably observed, neither for noun- nor verb-cued recall. Thus, to the extent that this study successfully dissociated direct and indirect testing-based enhancements, they seem to be differentially effective for performed actions, and may rely on partially different mechanisms.

  • 2015. Aram Seddigh (et al.). Journal of Environmental Psychology 44, 34-44

    Noise has repeatedly been shown to be one of the most recurrent reasons for complaints in open-plan office environments. The aim of the present study was to investigate if enhanced or worsened sound absorption in open-plan offices is reflected in the employees' ratings of disturbances, cognitive stress, and professional efficacy. Employees working on two different floors of an office building were followed as three manipulations were made in room acoustics on each of the two floors by means of less or more absorbing tiles & wall absorbents. For one of the floors, the manipulations were from better to worse to better acoustical conditions, while for the other the manipulations were worse to better to worse. The acoustical effects of these manipulations were assessed according to the new ISO-standard (ISO-3382-3, 2012) for open-plan rooms acoustics. In addition, the employees responded to questionnaires after each change. Our analyses showed that within each floor enhanced acoustical conditions were associated with lower perceived disturbances and cognitive stress. There were no effects on professional efficiency. The results furthermore suggest that even a small deterioration in acoustical room properties measured according to the new ISO-standard for open-plan office acoustics has a negative impact on self-rated health and disturbances. This study supports previous studies demonstrating the importance of acoustics in work environments and shows that the measures suggested in the new ISO-standard can be used to adequately differentiate between better and worse room acoustics in open plan offices.

  • 2015. Stina Cornell Kärnekull (et al.). Chemical Senses 40 (4), 259-267

    Few studies have investigated long-term odor recognition memory, although some early observations suggested that the forgetting rate of olfactory representations is slower than for other sensory modalities. This study investigated recognition memory across 64 days for high and low familiar odors and faces. Memory was assessed in 83 young participants at 4 occasions; immediate, 4, 16, and 64 days after encoding. The results indicated significant forgetting for odors and faces across the 64 days. The forgetting functions for the 2 modalities were not fundamentally different. Moreover, high familiar odors and faces were better remembered than low familiar ones, indicating an important role of semantic knowledge on recognition proficiency for both modalities. Although odor recognition was significantly better than chance at the 64 days testing, memory for the low familiar odors was relatively poor. Also, the results indicated that odor identification consistency across sessions, irrespective of accuracy, was positively related to successful recognition.

  • 2015. Veit Kubik (et al.). Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 56 (5), 475-481

    Testing one's memory of previously studied information reduces the rate of forgetting, compared to restudy. However, little is known about how this direct testing effect applies to action phrases (e.g., wash the car) - a learning material relevant to everyday memory. As action phrases consist of two different components, a verb (e.g., wash) and a noun (e.g., car), testing can either be implemented as noun-cued recall of verbs or verb-cued recall of nouns, which may differently affect later memory performance. In the present study, we investigated the effect of testing for these two recall types, using verbally encoded action phrases as learning materials. Results showed that repeated study-test practice, compared to repeated study-restudy practice, decreased the forgetting rate across 1 week to a similar degree for both noun-cued and verb-cued recall types. However, noun-cued recall of verbs initiated more new subsequent learning during the first restudy, compared to verb-cued recall of nouns. The study provides evidence that testing has benefits on both subsequent restudy and long-term retention of action-relevant materials, but that these benefits are differently expressed with testing via noun-cued versus verb-cued recall.

Show all publications by Fredrik Jönsson at Stockholm University

Last updated: March 26, 2021

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