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A list of key readings about Metacognition.
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Books and book chapters

© Image: Sage Publications
  • Dunlosky J, Metcalfe J. Metacognition. Sage:Los Angeles. ISBN 978-1-4129-3972-0. Read here for synopsis, overview, key features, table of contents, and editorial reviews.
  • First paragraph book's Introduction: Metacognition refers to thoughts about one’s own thoughts and cognitions (Flavell, 1979). Although the term itself may seem mysterious, metacognitive acts are common. For instance, take some time to answer two questions. First, when was the last time you failed to recall someone’s name, but were absolutely sure you knew the name? These frustrating events, called tip-of-the-tongue states, happen a lot and may increase in frequency as we grow older (Schwartz, 2002). They are metacognitive in nature because you are having a thought (“I’m sure I know the person’s name”) about a cognition (in this case, your thought is “that the person’s name is in your memory”). Second, when was the last time you decided to write down lengthy directions, or perhaps even brief ones, and how often do you make a list of groceries to buy at the market? In such circumstances, you may realize that there is little chance of remembering important information, so you naturally rely on external aids—for example, lists, PalmPilots, or even other people— to ensure that you won’t forget. Understanding the limits of your own memory also is a form of metacognition because it concerns your beliefs and knowledge about memory. What may also be evident from the rather common events illustrated above is that metacognition is not a single concept, but it is multifaceted in nature.
  • Chapter Abstract: Many researchers believe that mctacognitive processes regulate strategy selection. Another common assumption is that metacognitive processes, such as strategy selection, entail conscious processing or decision making. In this chapter, we examine whether conscious awareness is a critical aspect of strategy selection. We review evidence that first establishes that strategy selection varies both across and within individuals in response to dynamic features of the environment. Then, we present evidence that strategy adaptation can occur without (a) conscious consideration of different strategies or (b) conscious awareness of factors influencing one's strategy use. Specifically, shifts in strategy use occurred when people seemed to be unaware (a) that there were shifts in their strategy use or (b) that there were changes in the characteristics of the environment that, nonetheless, affected their strategy use.
  • Excerpt: ....there are two core meanings of the term metacognition to which most researchers using that label often refer: monitoring and control of cognitive processes....Monitoring of cognitive processes can include awareness of the component steps in cognitive processes as well as awareness of various features of these steps including their duration and their successfulness....Monitoring typically refers to awareness of the features of the current behavior....In contrast, control of cognitive processes refers to the processes that modify behavior, such as the selection of a strategy for performing a task....we focus on the relationship between monitoring and control of cognition in a special way: We argue that some aspects of metacognition typically called monitoring, and therefore implying awareness, actually operate without much awareness. Moreover, the control processes that operate to affect strategy choice are frequently influenced by implicit [non-conscious] processes.
  • Timothy J. Perfect, Bennett L. Schwartz (editors). (2002) Applied metacognition. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521000376. A multi-authored anthology. | Google Books preview.
    • From the Introduction by the editors: We consider that the following chapters will make important contributions to two applied domains, namely (a) education, specifically applications toward improving learning and training; and (b) legal contexts, specifically in the self-evaluation of eyewitness reports. The chapters here also touch on applications to other domains including counseling (self-evaluation of coping strategies, beliefs in recovered memories), human factors (self-monitoring of job performance), and recovery from brain injuries.

Journal articles