Chapter

On the nature, evolution, development, and epistemology of metacognition: introductory thoughts

Michael J. Beran, Johannes L. Brandl, Josef Perner and Joëlle Proust

in Foundations of Metacognition

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646739
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745867 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646739.003.0001
On the nature, evolution, development, and epistemology of metacognition: introductory thoughts

Show Summary Details

Preview

Humans have the ability to monitor their own cognition and change their behaviour based on information gleaned from that monitoring. We think about our own thinking, and are often fully aware of our mental states. This metacognitive ability is closely linked to, and may be the basis for, human consciousness. This chapter states that some non-human animals (hereafter, animals) may have a similar ability to monitor their own cognition, though the exact nature of this ability is unknown. The chapter reviews several perceptual, psychophysical, and memory experiments that show animals apparently perceiving and using information about their own mental states. Animal performance in these tasks shows interesting parallels to human performance. The chapter also reviews some problems with this evidence, and discuss ways that researchers have sought to overcome those problems. The chapter states that, taken as a whole, the evidence strongly indicates that some animals have metaminds — minds capable of understanding not only perceptual information, but also information about their own mental states.

Keywords: metacognition; uncertainty monitoring; monkeys; perception; psychophysics; memory; comparative psychology; consciousness

Chapter.  11087 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.