Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Jane Berry

Second Advisor

Dr. Angela Kilb

Third Advisor

Dr. Scott Allison


Self-knowledge can play a critical role in navigating physical, cognitive, and social changes in late life. To protect and preserve one's sense of self against these changes, individuals may engage in self-enhancing and self-serving biases in areas important to self-esteem. The importance attached to these areas may change with age, and self-knowledge of these psychological processes may vary with age. We investigated self-enhancing biases and metacognitive awareness of abilities in adulthood. Participants ranging in age from 20 to 80 completed a series of tests assessing the better than average effect across a variety of age-relevant domains as well as objective memory and intelligence tests. Results yielded an overall better-than-average effect as well as higher positive biases in young, middle-aged, and older adults on age-congruent domains. Younger and older adults were accurate in their assessments of recall ability and processing speed, respectively. Differences between performance predictions and actual performance scores on four cognitive tasks were generally smaller after test than before, suggesting a preservation of monitoring accuracy in late life. Implications for task feedback and training programs for the elderly are discussed as well as the ability for individuals, even in late adulthood, to continue to "self-make" and grow in self-knowledge.