Christopher Hertzog

Christopher Hertzog

General Information


Professor of Psychology

Research Area

Cognitive Aging


Ph.D. (1979) Psychology, Adult Development & Aging
University of Southern California

J S Coon building 235
Researcher Webpage
Adult Cognition Lab


I study individual differences in adult cognitive development. I am interested in age-related declines in basic mechanisms of cognition, memory, and information processing, especially in terms of understanding ‘successful cognitive aging.’ That is, characterizing who declines and who does not, and evaluating possible explanations for the differences. A major focus of my research program is in metacognition and strategic self-regulation –evaluating how people monitor and adapt their behavior in tasks to improve their performance. I have also studied how personality, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors influence cognitive task performance, and how older adults maintain effective functioning even when challenged by age-related changes.

Current Research Interests

Metacognition, Strategy Use, and Aging

(often in collaboration with John Dunlosky, Kent State University). We study metacognition in older and younger adults, with special reference to memory monitoring, strategy use, and other control processes operating in episodic memory task performance. New techniques for studying monitoring of learning, retrieval, and performance have been developed (Hertzog & Dunlosky, 2004) and are being used to study accuracy of monitoring (which often appears to be unaffected by aging, even when learning and memory are impaired; Eakin & Hertzog, 2006; Hertzog et al., 2002; Hertzog, Sinclair, & Dunlosky, 2009; Robinson, Hertzog, & Dunlosky, 2006).

We are currently studying judgments of learning and feeling-of-knowing ratings for newly learned materials with associative and item recognition tests in order to understand this phenomenon (MacLaverty & Hertzog, 2009; Hertzog, Dunlosky, & Sinclair, 2009). We have also evaluated the relationships of judgments of learning to recollection during recognition (Daniels, Toth, & Hertzog, 2009). A new collaboration is currently underway with Eric Schumacher to study fMRI correlates of feeling-of-knowing states. We are also studying how knowledge about strategy effectiveness is influenced by experience using those strategies (Dunlosky & Hertzog, 2000; Hertzog, Price, & Dunlosky, 2008; Price, Hertzog, & Dunlosky, 2008).

We have studied self-reports of strategy use in associative learning (Dunlosky & Hertzog, 1998, 2001; Hertzog, Dunlosky, & Robinson, 2009), in free recall (Hertzog et al., 2009; Hertzog et al., 1998; Hertzog, McGuire, Horhota, & Jopp, in press) and in working memory tasks (Bailey, Dunlosky & Hertzog, 2009). We have also evaluated whether strategy selection for associative learning is influenced by monitoring learning success and failure (Hertzog, Price, & Dunlosky, 2009; Price, Hertzog, & Dunlosky, in press), and discovering how to train older adults to use monitoring to improve rates of learning (Dunlosky et al., 2003, 2005, 2007; Roth, Dunlosky, & Hertzog, in press). This work is currently funded by the National Institute on Aging.

My newer interests in this regard are studying strategic behavior during retrieval and during prospective memory.

Development of Automaticity and Strategy Shift in Search/Detection Tasks

(in collaboration with Dayna Touron (University of North Carolina, Greensboro). We are particularly interested in individual differences in the development of automaticity in search/detection tasks, and whether aging affects the development of automaticity (e.g., Rogers, Hertzog, & Fisk, 2000; Hertzog, Cooper, & Fisk, 1996, and Touron & Hertzog, 2004a, strong). The recent work with Touron demonstrates that older adults manifest a delayed shift to a memory retrieval strategy in skilled performance, with a substantial cost to the efficiency of their performance. This delayed shift appears to reflect a lack of confidence by some (but not all) older adults in their ability to effectively rely on memory. We have been able to manipulate older adults’ rate of shift to the memory retrieval strategy in ways that rule out a simple associative deficit as the basis for the delayed retrieval shift, and have determined that often older adults do not appreciate that memory retrieval confers major advantages for efficiency of performance in these tasks. Hertzog, Touron, & Hines (2007) showed that age differences in the accuracy of monitoring how quickly one is responding with each strategy may contribute to older adults’ delayed retrieval shift. Incentives to respond quickly also reduce age differences in retrieval shift (Touron & Hertzog, in press; Touron, Swaim, & Hertzog, 2007). This work is currently funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Beliefs about Memory and Aging

My colleagues and I have studied beliefs about how aging affects memory (Hertzog, McGuire, Horhota, & Jopp, in press; Hertzog, McGuire, & Lineweaver, 1998; Lineweaver & Hertzog, 1998). We have also studied beliefs about one’s own memory functioning and how these beliefs derive from more general beliefs about aging, and what influence they have on cognitive task performance (Lineweaver, Berger, & Hertzog, 2009). I have also examined the distinction between beliefs as measured by standard subjective memory questionnaires and beliefs about cognition in context (e.g., Hertzog, Park, Morrell, & Martin, 2000). We have evaluated the relationship of memory self-concept to self-reported active life style (Jopp & Hertzog, 2007), as well as its relationship to strategy use (Hertzog, Dunlosky, & Robinson, 2008).

Information Processing Correlates of Intelligence in Adulthood

I have studied adult intellectual development since graduate school (e.g., Hertzog & Schaie, 1986), and continue to be interested in this area. I am especially interested in spatial cognition and relationships of psychometric tests of spatial ability and chronometric tasks measuring the same constructs (e.g. the mental rotation task). Previous research has focused on role of age-related slowing of information processing speed to intelligence (e.g., Hertzog, 1989; Hertzog & Bleckley, 2001; Hertzog, Vernon, & Rypma, 1993). I have also studied individual differences in memory change in adulthood as a function of variables such as reasoning and working memory with colleagues of the Victoria Longitudinal Study (e.g., Hertzog, 2004; Hertzog, Dixon, Hultsch, & MacDonald, 2003). I have also studied the relationship of variables such as an active life style to cognitive change in adulthood (e.g., Hertzog, Kramer, Wilson, & Lindenberger, 2009).

Quantitative Methods for Study Change

Understanding individual differences in cognitive change requires methods for measuring and accounting for changes (Hertzog & Nesselroade, 2003). I am currently involved in studies that evaluate the statistical properties of longitudinal models for change, such as latent growth curve models, principally with scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany (e.g., Hertzog, Lindenberger, Ghisletta, & von Oertzen, 2006; Hertzog, von Oertzen, Ghisletta, & Lindenberger, 2008).

Theoretical Perspectives on Aging and Cognition

I continue to be interested in larger questions about how we think about cognition and aging. On the one hand, I emphasize an individual differences perspective, that allows for the possibility of different outcomes for different individuals depending on the interactions between genetics, context, health, behavior, and specific circumstance (Hertzog, 2008, 2009; Hertzog & Jopp, in press). In part, my interest in metacognition and strategic behavior is based on the broader assumption, derived from a life-span perspective, that individuals influence the course of their own development. We cannot and should not deny the realities of biological aging and the constraints it places on human development in late life; nor should we assume that decline, disuse, and dysfunction are the proper metaphors for understanding the quality of life in old age (Hertzog, Kramer, Wilson, & Lindenberger, 2009).


  • American Psychological Association (Fellow)
  • American Psychological Society (Charter Fellow)
  • Gerontological Society of America (Fellow)
  • International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development
  • Psychonomic Society
  • Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology

Selected publications

  • Bailey, H., Dunlosky, J., & Hertzog, C. (2009). Does differential strategy use account for age-related deficits in working memory performance? Psychology and Aging, 24, 82-92.
  • Bailey, H., Dunlosky, J., & Hertzog, C. (in press). Self-regulation training at home: Does it improve older adults’ learning? Gerontology.
  • Connor, L.T., Dunlosky, J., & Hertzog, C. (1997). Age-related differences in absolute by not relative metamemory accuracy. Psychology and Aging, 12, 50-71.
  • Daniels, K. A., Toth, J. P., & Hertzog, C. (2009). A role for recollection in the accuracy of judgments of learning. Psychology and Aging, 24, 494-500.
  • Dunlosky, J., Baker, J. M. C., Rawson, K. A., & Hertzog, C. (2006). Does aging influence metacomprehension? Effects of processing ease on comprehension judgments. Psychology and Aging, 21, 390-400.
  • Dunlosky, J., Cavallini, E., Roth, H., McGuire, C. L., Vecchi, T., & Hertzog, C. (2007). Do self-monitoring interventions improve older adults’ learning? Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 62B (Special Issue I), 70-76.
  • Dunlosky, J., & Hertzog, C. (1998). Aging and deficits in associative memory: What is the role of strategy use? Psychology and Aging, 13, 597-607.
  • Dunlosky, J., & Hertzog, C. (2000). Updating knowledge about strategy effectiveness: A componential analysis of learning about strategy effectiveness from task experience. Psychology and Aging, 15, 462-474.
  • Dunlosky, J., Hertzog, C., Kennedy, M. R. T., & Thiede, K. W. (2005). The self-monitoring approach for effective learning. Cognitive Technology, 10, 4-11.
  • Dunlosky, J., Hertzog, C., & Powell-Moman, A. (2005). The contribution of five mediator-based deficiencies to age-related differences in associative learning. Developmental Psychology, 41, 389-400.
  • Dunlosky, J., Kubat-Silman, A., & Hertzog, C. (2003). Training metacognitive skills improves older adults’ associative learning. Psychology and Aging, 18, 340-345.
  • Eakin & Hertzog (2006). Release from implicit interference in memory and metamemory: Older adults know that they can’t let go. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 61B 341-347.
  • Hertzog, C. (1989). The influence of cognitive slowing on age differences in intelligence. Developmental Psychology, 25, 636-651.
  • Hertzog (2004). Does longitudinal evidence confirm theories of cognitive aging derived from cross-sectional data? In R. A. Dixon, L. strongäckman, & L-G. Nilsson (Eds.), New Frontiers for Cognitive Aging Research (pp. 41-64). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  • Hertzog, C. (2008). Theoretical approaches to the study of cognitive aging: An individual differences perspective. In S. M. Hofer & D. F. Alwin (Eds.), Handbook of Cognitive Aging (pp. 34-49). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Hertzog, C. (2009). Use it or lose it: An old hypothesis, new evidence, and an ongoing controversy. In H. Bosworth & C. Hertzog (Eds.), Cognition and Aging: Research Methodologies and Empirical Advances (pp. 161-179). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
  • Hertzog, C., & Bleckley, M. K. (2001). Age differences in the structure of intelligence: Influences of information processing speed. Intelligence ,29, 191-217.
  • Hertzog, C., Cooper, strong.P., & Fisk, A.D. (1996). Aging and individual differences in the development of skilled memory search performance. Psychology and Aging, 11, 497-520.
  • Hertzog, C., Dixon, R. A., Hultsch, D. F., & MacDonald, S. W. S. (2003). Latent change models of adult cognition: Are changes in processing speed and working memory associated with changes in episodic memory? Psychology and Aging, 18, 755-769.
  • Hertzog, C., & Dunlosky, J. (2006). Using visual imagery as a mnemonic for verbal associative learning: Developmental and individual differences. In T. Vecchi & G. Bottini (Eds.). Imagery and Spatial Cognition: Methods, Models and Cognitive Assessment. John Benjamins Publishers: Amsterdam and Philadelphia, The Netherlands/USA.
  • Hertzog, C., Dunlosky, J., Robinson, A. E., & Kidder, D. P. (2003). Encoding fluency is a cue utilized for judgments about learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 29, 22-34.
  • Hertzog, C., & Jopp, D. S. (in press). Resilience in the face of cognitive aging: Experience, adaptation, and compensation. In P. S. Fry & C. Keyes (Eds.), New frontiers in resilient aging: Life-strengths and wellness in late life.
  • Hertzog, C., Kidder, D. P., Powell-Moman, A., & Dunlosky, J. (2002). Aging and monitoring associative learning: Is monitoring accuracy spared or impaired? Psychology and Aging, 17, 209-225.
  • Hertzog, C., Kramer, A. F., Wilson, R. S., & Lindenberger, U. (2009). Enrichment effects on adult cognitive development: Can the functional capacity of older adults be preserved and enhanced? Psychological Science in the Public Interest (Vol. 9, Whole No. 1). Washington, D. C.: Association for Psychological Science.
  • Hertzog, C., McGuire, C. L., Horhota, M., & Jopp, D. (in press). Age differences in lay theories about memory control: Older adults believe in “use it or lose it.“ International Journal of Aging and Human Development.
  • Hertzog, C., Price, J., & Dunlosky, J. (2008). How is knowledge generated about memory encoding strategy effectiveness? Learning and Individual Differences, 18, 430-445.
  • Hertzog, C., Park, D. C., Morrell, R. W., & Martin, M. (2000). Ask and ye shall receive: Behavioral specificity in the accuracy of subjective memory complaints. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 14, 257-275.
  • Hertzog, C., Lindenberger, U., Ghisletta, P., & Oertzen, T. v. (in press). Evaluating the power of latent growth curve models to detect individual differences in change. Structural Equation Modeling.
  • Hertzog, Lindenberger, Ghisletta, & von Oertzen (2006). On the power of latent growth curve models to detect correlated change. Psychological Methods, 11, 254-262.
  • Hertzog, C., McGuire, C. L., & Lineweaver, T. T. (1998). Aging, attributions, perceived control, and strategy use in a free recall task. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 5, 85-106.
  • Hertzog, C., & Nesselroade, J. R. (2003). Assessing psychological change in adulthood: An overview of methodological issues. Psychology and Aging.
  • Hertzog, C., & Schaie, K. W. (1986). Stability and change in adult intelligence: 1. Analysis of longitudinal covariance structures. Psychology and Aging, 1, 159-171.
  • Hertzog, C., Touron, D. R., & Hines, J. C. (2007). Does a time monitoring deficit contribut to older adults’ delayed shift to retrieval during skill acquisition? Psychology and Aging, 22, 607-624.
  • Hines, J. C., Touron, D., & Hertzog, C.(2009).  Metacognitive influences on study time allocation in an associative recognition task: An analysis of adult age differences. Psychology and Aging, 24, 462-475.
  • Hultsch, D.F., Hertzog, C., Dixon, R. A., & Small, strong. J. (1998). Memory change in the aged. Cambridge University Press.
  • Hultsch, D. F., Hertzog, C., Small, strong. J., & Dixon, R. A. (1999). Use it or lose it? Engaged life style as a buffer of cognitive decline in aging. Psychology and Aging, 14, 245-263.
  • Jopp, D., & Hertzog, C. (2007). Activities, self-referent memory beliefs, and cognitive performance: Evidence for direct and mediated effects. Psychology and Aging, 22, 811-825.
  • Lineweaver, T. T., & Hertzog, C. (1998). Adults’ efficacy and control beliefs regarding memory and aging: Separating general from personal beliefs. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition 5, 264-296.
  • Lineweaver, T. T., Berger, A. K.., & Hertzog, C. (2009). Expectations about memory change are impacted by aging stereotypes. Psychology and Aging. 24, 169-176
  • Robinson, A. E., Hertzog, C., & Dunlosky, J. (2006). Aging, encoding fluency, and metacognitive monitoring. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 13, 458-478.
  • Rogers, W. A., Hertzog, C., & Fisk, A. D. (2000). Age-related differences in associative learning: An individual differences analysis of ability and strategy influences. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 26, 359-394.
  • Stine-Morrow, E. A. L., Miller, L. M. S., & Hertzog, C. (2006). Aging and self-regulated language processing. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 582-606.
  • Touron, D. R., & Hertzog, C. (2004a). Strategy shift affordance and strategy choice in young and older adults. Memory & Cognition, 32, 298-310.
  • Touron, D. R., & Hertzog, C. (2004b). Distinguishing age differences in knowledge, strategy use, and confidence during strategic skill acquisition. Psychology and Aging, 19, 452-466.
  • Touron, D. R., & Hertzog, C. (in press). Age differences in strategic behavior during a computation-based skill acquisition task. Psychology and Aging.
  • Touron, D. R., Swaim, E. T., & Hertzog, C. (2007). Moderation of older adults’ retrieval reluctance through task instructions and monetary incentives. Journal of Gerongology: Psychological Sciences, 62B, P149-P155.

Frequently Taught Courses

  • PSYC 2020 Psychological Statistics
  • PSYC 4260 Psychology and Aging
  • PSYC 7020 Survey in Cognitive Aging
  • PSYC 8020 Seminar in Cognitive Aging (topical: e.g., Metacognition, Individual Differences)
  • PSYC 8800 Special Topics in Applied Statistics (e.g., Longitudinal Analysis)