Researchers have begun to explore animals' capacities for uncertainty monitoring and metacognition. This exploration could extend the study of animal self-awareness and establish the relationship of self-awareness to other-awareness. It could sharpen descriptions of metacognition in the human literature and suggest the earliest roots of metacognition in human development. We summarize research on uncertainty monitoring by humans, monkeys, and a dolphin within perceptual and metamemory tasks. We extend phylogenetically the search for metacognitive capacities by considering studies that (...) have tested less cognitively sophisticated species. By using the same uncertainty-monitoring paradigms across species, it should be possible to map the phylogenetic distribution of metacognition and illuminate the emergence of mind. We provide a unifying formal description of animals' performances and examine the optimality of their decisional strategies. Finally, we interpret animals' and humans' nearly identical performances psychologically. Low-level, stimulus-based accounts cannot explain the phenomena. The results suggest granting animals a higher-level decision-making process that involves criterion setting using controlled cognitive processes. This conclusion raises the difficult question of animal consciousness. The results show that animals have functional features of or parallels to human conscious cognition. Remaining questions are whether animals also have the phenomenal features that are the feeling/knowing states of human conscious cognition, and whether the present paradigms can be extended to demonstrate that they do. Thus, the comparative study of metacognition potentially grounds the systematic study of animal consciousness. Key Words: cognition; comparative cognition; consciousness; memory monitoring; metacognition; metamemory; self-awareness; uncertainty; uncertainty monitoring. (shrink)
Real agents rely, when forming their beliefs, on imperfect informational sources (sources which deliver, even under normal conditions of operation, both accurate and inaccurate information). They therefore face the ‘endorsement problem’: how can beliefs produced by endorsing information received from imperfect sources be formed in an epistemically acceptable manner? Focussing on the case of episodic memory and drawing on empirical work on metamemory, this article argues that metacognition likely plays a crucial role in explaining how agents solve the endorsement (...) problem. (shrink)
Metacognition is often defined as thinking about thinking. It is exemplified in all the activities through which one tries to predict and evaluate one’s own mental dispositions, states and properties for their cognitive adequacy. This article discusses the view that metacognition has metarepresentational structure. Properties such as causal contiguity, epistemic transparency and procedural reflexivity are present in metacognition but missing in metarepresentation, while open-ended recursivity and inferential promiscuity only occur in metarepresentation. It is concluded that, although metarepresentations (...) can redescribe metacognitive contents, metacognition and metarepresentation are functionally distinct. (shrink)
Two main theories about metacognition are reviewed, each of which claims to provide a better explanation of this phenomenon, while discrediting the other theory as inappropriate. The paper claims that in order to do justice to the complex phenomenon of metacognition, we must distinguish two levels of this capacity—each having a different structure, a different content and a different function within the cognitive architecture. It will be shown that each of the reviewed theories has been trying to explain (...) only one of the two levels and that, consequently, the conflict between them can be dissolved. The paper characterizes the high-level as a rationalizing level where the subject uses concepts and theories to interpret her own behavior and the low-level as a controlling level where the subject exploits epistemic feelings to adjust her cognitive activities. Finally, the paper explores three kinds of interaction between the levels. (shrink)
Many theorists claim that inner speech is importantly linked to human metacognition (thinking about one's own thinking). However, their proposals all rely upon unworkable conceptions of the content and structure of inner speech episodes. The core problem is that they require inner speech episodes to have both auditory-phonological contents and propositional/semantic content. Difficulties for the views emerge when we look closely at how such contents might be integrated into one or more states or processes. The result is that, if (...) inner speech is especially valuable to metacognition, we do not currently understand why it is. The article concludes with two positive proposals for understanding the content and structure of inner speech episodes, which should serve as constraints on future accounts of the metacognitive value of inner speech. (shrink)
In this article, we examine the advantages of simple metacognitive capabilities in a repeated social dilemma. Two types of metacognitive agent were developed and compared with a non-metacognitive agent and two fixed-strategy agents. The first type of metacognitive agent takes the perspective of the opponent to anticipate the opponent's future actions and respond accordingly. The other metacognitive agent predicts the opponent's next move based on the previous moves of the agent and the opponent. The modeler agent achieves better individual outcomes (...) than a non-metacognitive agent and is more successful at encouraging cooperation. The opponent-perspective agent, by contrast, fails to achieve these outcomes because it lacks important information about the opponent. These simple agents provide insights regarding modeling of metacognition in more complex tasks. (shrink)
Perceptual experiences have been construed either as representational mental states—Representationalism—or as direct mental relations to the external world—Disjunctivism. Both conceptions are critical reactions to the so-called ‘Argument from Hallucination’, according to which perceptions cannot be about the external world, since they are subjectively indiscriminable from other, hallucinatory experiences, which are about sense-data ormind-dependent entities. Representationalism agrees that perceptions and hallucinations share their most specific mental kind, but accounts for hallucinations as misrepresentations of the external world. According to Disjunctivism, the phenomenal (...) character of perceptions is exhausted by worldly objects and features, and thus must be different from the phenomenal character of hallucinations. Disjunctivism claims that subjective indiscriminability is not the result of a common experiential ground, but is because of our inability to discriminate, from the inside, hallucinations from perceptions. At first sight, Representationalism is more congenial to the way cognitive science deals with perception. However, empirically oriented revisions of Disjunctivism could be developed and tested by giving a metacognitive account of hallucinations. Two versions of this account can be formulated, depending on whether metacognition is understood as explicit metarepresentation or as implicit monitoring of first-order informational states. The first version faces serious objections, but the second is more promising, as it embodies a more realistic view of perceptual phenomenology as having both sensory and affective aspects. Affectbased phenomenology is constituted by various metacognitive feelings, such as the feeling of being perceptually confronted with the world itself, rather than with pictures or mere representations. (shrink)
The importance of enchancing metacognition and encouraging active learning in philosophy teaching has been increasingly recognised in recent years. Yet traditional teaching methods have not always centralised helping students to become reflectively and critically aware of the quality and consistency of their own thinking. This is particularly relevant when teaching moral philosophy, where apparently inconsistent intuitions and responses are common. In this paper I discuss the theoretical basis of the relevance of metacognition and active learning for teaching moral (...) philosophy. Applying recent discussions of metacognition, intuition conflicts and survey-based teaching techniques, I then outline a strategy for encouraging metacognitive awareness of tensions in students’ pretheoretical beliefs, and developing a critical self-awareness of their development as moral thinkers. (shrink)
Metacognition is associated with planning, monitoring, evaluating and repairing performance Designers of elearning systems can improve the quality of their environments by explicitly structuring the visual and interactive display of learning contexts to facilitate metacognition. Typically page layout, navigational appearance, visual and interactivity design are not viewed as major factors in metacognition. This is because metacognition tends to be interpreted as a process in the head, rather than an interactive one. It is argued here, that cognition (...) and metacognition are part of a continuum and that both are highly interactive. The tenets of this view are explained by reviewing some of the core assumptions of the situated and distribute approach to cognition and then further elaborated by exploring the notions of active vision, visual complexity, affordance landscape and cue structure. The way visual cues are structured and the way interaction is designed can make an important difference in the ease and effectiveness of cognition and metacognition. Documents that make effective use of markers such as headings, callouts, italics can improve students' ability to comprehend documents and 'plan' the way they review and process content. Interaction can be designed to improve 'the proximal zone of planning' - the look ahead and apprehension of what is nearby in activity space that facilitates decisions. This final concept is elaborated in a discussion of how e-newspapers combine effective visual and interactive design to enhance user control over their reading experience. (shrink)
This chapter aims to relate two fields of research that have been rarely – if ever – associated, namely embodied communication and metacognition. Exploring this relationship offers a new perspective for understanding the relationship between self-knowledge and mindreading. "Embodied communication" refers to the process of conveying information to one or several interlocutors through speech and associated bodily gestures, or through gestures only. It is prima facie plausible that embodied communication crucially involves metacognitive interventions. Let the term ‘conversational metacognition’ (...) refer to the set of abilities that allow an embodied speaker to make available to others and to receive from them specific markers concerning his/her "conversing adequacy". The hypothesis explored is that embodied communication in humans involve metacognitive gestures. Examples are offered from manual gesturing and from orofacial expressions. A final discussion examines the respective roles of altruistic and Machiavellian pressures in conversational metacognition. (shrink)
This paper argues that explicit reading instruction should be part of lower level undergraduate philosophy courses. Specifically, the paper makes the claim that it is necessary to provide the student with both the relevant background knowledge about a philosophical work and certain metacognitive skills that enrich the reading process and their ability to organize the content of a philosophical text with other aspects of knowledge. A “How to Read Philosophy” handout and student reactions to the handout are provided.
This chapter situates the dispute over the metacognitive capacities of non-human animals in the context of wider debates about the phylogeny of metarepresentational abilities. This chapter clarifies the nature of the dispute, before contrasting two different accounts of the evolution of metarepresentation. One is first-person-based, claiming that it emerged initially for purposes of metacognitive monitoring and control. The other is social in nature, claiming that metarepresentation evolved initially to monitor the mental states of others. These accounts make differing predictions about (...) what we should expect to find in non-human animals: the former predicts that metacognitive capacities in creatures incapable of equivalent forms of mindreading should be found, whereas the latter predicts that they should not. The chapter elaborates and defend the latter form of account, drawing especially on what is known about decision-making and metacognition in humans. In doing so the chapter shows that so-called ‘uncertainty-monitoring’ data from monkeys can just as well be explained in non-metarepresentational affective terms, as might be predicted by the social-evolutionary account. (shrink)
What entitles you to rely on information received from others? What entitles you to rely on information retrieved from your own memory? Intuitively, you are entitled simply to trust yourself, while you should monitor others for signs of untrustworthiness. This article makes a case for inverting the intuitive view, arguing that metacognitive monitoring of oneself is fundamental to the reliability of memory, while monitoring of others does not play a significant role in ensuring the reliability of testimony.
The author claims that concept possession is not only necessary but also sufficient for self-consciousness, where self-consciousness is understood as the awareness of oneself as a self. Further, he links concept possession to intelligent behavior. His ultimate aim is to provide a framework for the study of self-consciousness in infants and non-human animals. I argue that the claim that all concepts are necessarily related to the self-concept remains unconvincing and suggest that what might be at issue here are not so (...) much conceptual but rather metacognitive abilities. (shrink)
Given disagreements about the architecture of the mind, the nature of self-knowledge, and its epistemology, the question of how to understand the function and scope of metacognition – the control of one's cognition - is still a matter of hot debate. A dominant view, the self-ascriptive view (or one-function view), has been that metacognition necessarily requires representing one's own mental states as mental states, and, therefore, necessarily involves an ability to read one's own mind. The self-evaluative view (or (...) two-function view), in contrast, takes metacognition to involve a procedural form of knowledge that is generated by actually engaging in a first-order cognitive task, and monitoring its success. The comparative and developmental arguments supporting, respectively, each of these views are discussed in the light of Hampton's operational definition of metacognition. New arguments are presented in favor of the two-function view. Recent behaviorial and neuroscientific evidence suggests that metacognitive assessment relies on dedicated implicit mechanisms, which are wholly independent, and indeed dissociable, from theory-based self-attribution. The two-function view is claimed to be the best interpretation of these findings. (shrink)
Does metacognition--the capacity to self-evaluate one's cognitive performance--derive from a mindreading capacity, or does it rely on informational processes? Joëlle Proust draws on psychology and neuroscience to defend the second claim. She argues that metacognition need not involve metarepresentations, and is essentially related to mental agency.
The human mind is extraordinary in its ability not merely to respond to events as they unfold but also to adapt its own operation in pursuit of its agenda. This ‘cognitive control’ can be achieved through simple interactions among sensorimotor processes, and through interactions in which one sensorimotor process represents a property of another in an implicit, unconscious way. So why does the human mind also represent properties of cognitive processes in an explicit way, enabling us to think and say (...) ‘I’m sure’ or ‘I’m doubtful’? We suggest that ‘system 2 metacognition’ is for supra-personal cognitive control. It allows metacognitive information to be broadcast, and thereby to coordinate the sensorimotor systems of two or more agents involved in a shared task. (shrink)
Metacognition is associated with planning, monitoring, evaluating and repairing performance Designers of elearning systems can improve the quality of their environments by explicitly structuring the visual and interactive display of learning contexts to facilitate metacognition. Typically page layout, navigational appearance, visual and interactivity design are not viewed as major factors in metacognition. This is because metacognition tends to be interpreted as a process in the head, rather than an interactive one. It is argued here, that cognition (...) and metacognition are part of a continuum and that both are highly interactive. The tenets of this view are explained by reviewing some of the core assumptions of the situated and distribute approach to cognition and then further elaborated by exploring the notions of active vision, visual complexity, affordance landscape and cue structure. The way visual cues are structured and the way interaction is designed can make an important difference in the ease and effectiveness of cognition and metacognition. Documents that make effective use of markers such as headings, callouts, italics can improve students’ ability to comprehend documents and ‘plan’ the way they review and process content. Interaction can be designed to improve ‘the proximal zone of planning’ – the look ahead and apprehension of what is nearby in activity space that facilitates decisions. This final concept is elaborated in a discussion of how e-newspapers combine effective visual and interactive design to enhance user control over their reading experience. (shrink)
The relationship between metacognition and mindreading was investigated by comparing the monitoring of one’s own learning and another person’s learning . Previous studies indicated that in self-paced study judgments of learning for oneself are inversely related to the amount of study time invested in each item. This suggested reliance on the memorizing-effort heuristic that shorter ST is diagnostic of better recall. In this study although an inverse ST–JOL relationship was observed for Self, it was found for Other only when (...) the Other condition followed the Self condition. The results were interpreted in terms of the proposal that the processes underlying experience-based metacognitive judgments are largely unconscious. However, participants can derive insight from observing themselves as they monitor their own learning, and transfer that insight to Other, thus exhibiting a shift from experience-based to theory-based judgments. Although different processes mediate metacognition and mindreading, metacognition can inform mindreading. (shrink)
The time course of different metacognitive experiences of knowledge was investigated using artificial grammar learning. Experiment 1 revealed that when participants are aware of the basis of their judgments decisions are made most rapidly, followed by decisions made with conscious judgment but without conscious knowledge of underlying structure , and guess responses were made most slowly, even when controlling for differences in confidence and accuracy. In experiment 2, short response deadlines decreased the accuracy of unconscious but not conscious structural knowledge. (...) Conversely, the deadline decreased the proportion of conscious structural knowledge in favour of guessing. Unconscious structural knowledge can be applied rapidly but becomes more reliable with additional metacognitive processing time whereas conscious structural knowledge is an all-or-nothing response that cannot always be applied rapidly. These dissociations corroborate quite separate theories of recognition and metacognition. (shrink)
Controlling one's mental agency encompasses two forms of metacognitive operations, self-probing and post-evaluating. Metacognition so defined might seem to fuel an internalist view of epistemic norms, where rational feelings are available to instruct a thinker of what she can do, and allow her to be responsible for her mental agency. Such a view, however, ignores the dynamics of the mind–world interactions that calibrate the epistemic sentiments as reliable indicators of epistemic norms. A 'brain in the lab' thought experiment suggests (...) that an internalist view of epistemic feelings is unable to account for the contrast between norm-tracking, educated sentiments, and illusory feelings. (shrink)
This response defends the view that human metacognition results from us turning our mindreading capacities upon ourselves, and that our access to our own propositional attitudes is through interpretation rather than introspection. Relevant evidence is considered, including that deriving from studies of childhood development and other animal species. Also discussed are data suggesting dissociations between metacognitive and mindreading capacities, especially in autism and schizophrenia.
The project of understanding rationality in non-human animals faces a number of conceptual and methodological difficulties. The present chapter defends the view that it is counterproductive to rely on the human folk psychological idiom in animal cognition studies. Instead, it approaches the subject on the basis of dynamic- evolutionary considerations. Concepts from control theory can be used to frame the problem in the most general terms. The specific selective pressures exerted on agents endowed with information-processing capacities are analysed. It is (...) hypothesized that metacognition offers an evolutionary stable response to the various demands of the internal and external flows of information in a competitive environment. Metacognition provides a form of process-reflexivity that can, but does not have to be redeployed through metarepresentations. Finally the claim that rationality so conceived involves normativity is discussed. (shrink)
The relationship between metacognition and executive control is explored. According to an analysis by Fernandez-Duque, Baird, and Posner (this issue), metacognitive regulation involves attention, conflict resolution, error correction, inhibitory control, and emotional regulation. These aspects of metacognition are presumed to be mediated by a neural circuit involving midfrontal brain regions. An evaluation of the proposal by Fernandez-Duque et al. is made, and it is suggested that there is considerable convergence of issues associated with metacognition, executive control, working (...) memory, and frontal lobe function. By integrating these domains and issues, significant progress could be made toward a cognitive neuroscience of metacognition. (shrink)
Because there is a fair amount of overlap in the points by Balog and Rey, I will organize this response topically, referring speciﬁcally to each commentator as rele- vant. And, because much of the discussion focuses on my higher-order-thought hypothesis independent of questions about metacognition, I will begin by addressing a cluster of issues that have to do with the status, motivation, and exact formulation of that hypothesis.
Many experiments have demonstrated that people fail to detect seemingly large visual changes in their environment. Despite these failures, most people confidently predict that they would see changes that are actually almost impossible to see. Therefore, in at least some situations visual experience is demonstrably not what people think it is. This paper describes a line of research suggesting that overconfidence about change detection reflects a deeper metacognitive error founded on beliefs about attention and the role of meaning as a (...) support for a coherent perceptual experience. Accordingly, CBB does not occur in all situations , while the scope of the phenomenon remains broad enough to suggest more than a misunderstanding of a small niche of visual experience. I finish by arguing that despite the very small amount of research on visual metacognition, these beliefs are critical to understand. (shrink)
Mindreading in schizophrenia has been shown to be impaired in a multitude of studies. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence to suggest that metacognition is damaged as well. Lack of insight, or the inability to recognise one's own disorder, is an example of such a failure. We suggest that mindreading and metacognition are linked, but separable.
SHORT ABSTRACT: A number of accounts of the relationship between third-person mindreading and first-person metacognition are compared and evaluated. While three of these accounts endorse the existence of introspection for propositional attitudes, the fourth (defended here) claims that our knowledge of our own attitudes results from turning our mindreading capacities upon ourselves. The different types of theory are developed and evaluated, and multiple lines of evidence are reviewed, including evolutionary and comparative data, evidence of confabulation when self-attributing attitudes, phenomenological (...) evidence of “unsymbolized thinking”, data from schizophrenia, and data from autism. (shrink)
Kentridge and Heywood (this issue) extend the concept of metacognition to include unconscious processes. We acknowledge the possible contribution of unconscious processes, but favor a central role of awareness in metacognition. We welcome Shimamura's (this issue) extension of the concept of metacognitive regulation to include aspects of working memory, and its relation to executive attention.
Against the view that metacognition is a capacity that parallels theory of mind, it is argued that metacognition need involve neither metarepresentation nor semantic forms of reflexivity, but only process-reflexivity, through which a task-specific system monitors its own internal feedback by using quantitative cues. Metacognitive activities, however, may be redescribed in metarepresentational, mentalistic terms in species endowed with a theory of mind.
Carruthers offers a promising model for how know the propositional contents of own minds. Unfortunately, in retaining talk of first-person access to mental states, his suggestions assume that a higher-order self is already We invite Carruthers to eliminate the first-person from his model and to develop a more thoroughly third-person model of metacognition.
Evidence of reflective awareness and metacognitive monitoring during REM sleep dreaming poses a significant challenge to the commonly held view of dream cognition as necessarily deficient relative to waking cognition. To date, dream metacognition has not received the theoretical or experimental attention it deserves. As a result, discussions of dream cognition have been underrepresented in theoretical accounts of consciousness. This paper argues for using a converging measures approach to investigate the range and limits of cognition and metacognition across (...) the sleep–wakefulness cycle. The paradigm developed by LaBerge and his colleagues to study "lucid-control" dreaming offers one such framework for relating phenomenological, cognitive, and physiological measures. In a lucid-control dream, the dreamer is both aware that the experimental context is a dream and has the ability to intentionally regulate aspects of the dream . Subjects can make patterns of deliberate eye movements to signal from the dream and thus index significant events such as the time of lucidity onset and the completion of previously agreed-upon tasks in the dream. Lucid dreaming and other examples of reflective awareness during dreaming have important implications for models of human cognition. The existence of these phenomena raises fundamental questions about current assumptions regarding "state" constraints on consciousness and cognition. (shrink)
Smith et al.'s article provides a convincing argument for devoting increased research attention to comparative metacognition. However, this increased attention should be complemented with establishing links with comparative theory of mind (ToM) research, which are currently missing. I present a task in which pairs of subjects are presented with incomplete information in an object-choice situation that could be used to establish that link.
We argue that while it is a valuable contribution, Carruthers' model may be too restrictive to elaborate our understanding of the development of mindreading and metacognition, or to enrich our knowledge of individual differences and psychopathology. To illustrate, we describe pertinent examples where there may be a critical interplay between primitive social-cognitive processes and emerging self-attributions.
Intuitively, choices seem to be intentional actions but it is difficult to see how they could be. If our choices are all about weighing up reasons then there seems no room for an additional intentional act of choice. Richard Holton has suggested a solution to this puzzle, which involves thinking of choices in a two systems of cognition framework. Holton’s suggestion does solve the puzzle, but has some unsatisfactory consequences. This paper wants to take over the important insights from Holton (...) on the phenomenology of choice and the possible explanation via a two systems framework, but wants to suggest an alternative more satisfactory account. This account is built around the idea that choices are what Pamela Hieronymi calls managerial acts. After developing the claim the paper then defends it against the objection that managerial control cannot be understood in a system1 context, by examining recent research on uncertainty monitoring and early forms of metacognition. (shrink)
We agree with Carruthers that evidence for metacognition in species lacking mindreading provides dramatic evidence in favor of the metacognition-is-prior account and against the mindreading-is-prior account. We discuss this existing evidence and explain why an evolutionary perspective favors the former account and poses serious problems for the latter account.
Only two of the many experiments described by Smith et al., as indicating metacognitive ability in nonhuman animals, involved metacognition as understood in the human literature. Of these, one gave negative results. In the other, one of two rhesus monkeys provided data suggesting that he might have metacognitive ability. The conjecture that any nonhuman animals have metacognitive ability is, therefore, tenuous.
The central question underlying this study was whether metacognition training could enhance the two metacognition components—knowledge and skills—and the mathematical problem-solving capacities of normal children in grade 3. We also investigated whether metacognitive training had a differential effect according to the children's mathematics level. A total of 48 participants took part in this study, divided into an experimental and a control group, each subdivided into a lower and a normal achievers group. The training programme took an interactive approach (...) in accordance with Schraw's (1998) recommendation and was carried out over five training sessions. Results indicated that children in the training group had significantly higher post-test metacognitive knowledge, metacognitive skills, and mathematical problem-solving scores. In addition, metacognitive training was particularly beneficial to the low achievers. Thus metacognitive training enabled the low achievers to make progress and solve the same number of problems on the post-test as the normal achievers solved on the pre-test. (shrink)
The field of metacognition, richly sampled in the book under review, is recognized as an important and growing branch of psychology. However, the field stands in need of a general theory that (1) provides a unified framework for understanding the variety of metacognitive processes, (2) articulates the relation between metacognition and consciousness, and (3) tells us something about the form of meta-level representations and their relations to object-level representations. It is argued that the higher-order thought theory of consciousness (...) supplies us with the rudiments of a theory that meets these desiderata and integrates the principal findings reported in this collection. (shrink)
This commentary suggests an alternate definition for metacognition, as well as an alternate basis for the relation in representation. These together open the way for an understanding of mindreading that is significantly different from the one advocated by Carruthers.