The notion of optimality is often invoked informally in the literature on metacognitive control. We provide a precise formulation of the optimization problem and show that optimal time allocation strategies depend critically on certain characteristics of the learning environment, such as the extent of time pressure, and the nature of the uptake function. When the learning curve is concave, optimality requires that items at lower levels of initial competence be allocated greater time. On the other hand, with logistic learning curves, (...) optimal allocations vary with time availability in complex and surprising ways. Hence there are conditions under which optimal strategies will be relatively easy to uncover, and others in which suboptimal time allocation might be expected. The model can therefore be used to address the question of whether and when learners should be able to exercise good metacognitive control in practice. (shrink)
Smith et al. demonstrate the viability of animal metacognition research. We commend their effort and suggest three avenues of research. The first concerns whether animals are explicitly aware of their metacognitive processes. The second asks whether animals have metaknowledge of their own uncertain responses. The third issue concerns the monitoring/control distinction. We suggest some ways in which these issues elucidate metacognitive processes in nonhuman animals.
Thinkers in related fields such as philosophy, psychology, and education define metacognition in a variety of different ways. Based on an emerging standard definition in psychology, we present evidence for metacognition in animals, and argue that mindreading and metacognition are largely orthogonal.
Congenial information is often judged to be more valid than uncongenial information. The present research explores a related possibility concerning the process by which people label a claim as fundamentally factual or opinion. Rather than merely being more skeptical of uncongenial claims, uncongenial claims may be metacognitively categorized as more opinion than factual, while congenial claims may be more likely to be categorized as factual. The two studies reported here attempt to trace a preliminary outline of how claims are categorized (...) as fact, opinion, or some mix of the two in the context of mundane claims, contentious political issues, and conspiracy theories. The findings suggest that claims are more likely to be labeled factual to the extent that one subjectively agrees with the content of the claim. Conspiracy theories appear to occupy a middle-ground between fact and opinion. This metacognitive approach may help shed light on popular debate about conspiracy theories, as well as seemingly intractable political disagreements more generally, which may reflect fundamental differences in the perceived epistemic foundations of claims rather than simple disagreement over the facts of the matter. Given limitations of the stimuli and participant samples, however, it remains to be seen how generalizable these findings are. (shrink)