Early forms of metacognition in human children

Frank Esken

in Foundations of Metacognition

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646739
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745867 | DOI:
Early forms of metacognition in human children

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The focus of this chapter concerns the question whether human children develop early forms of metacognition before they develop full fledged, language-bound metacognitive abilities of the form ‘I believe that p’ at around 4 –5 years of age. While there is a lively, although highly controversial, debate about so-called metacognitive feelings, i.e. non-conceptualized metacognitive abilities in monkeys ( Kornell et al. 2007), the research on metacognition in preverbal children is just starting. This chapter summarizes some recent findings from developmental psychology which concern rather precursors of what is called declarative metacognition than epistemic feelings and risks the hypothesis that there is some good evidence that human children develop early forms of metacognition at around the age of 2 years, but that these abilities develop quite differently from the assumed metacognitive abilities in non-human primates: ontogenetically early forms of metacognition in humans seem to evolve from basic forms of inner speech (i.e. internalized rules and instructions), rather than from epistemic feelings.

Keywords: metacognition; development; toddlers; children; metacognitive feelings; non-conceptual; epistemic feelings

Chapter.  7618 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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