Although widely studied in other domains, relatively little is known about the metacognitive processes that monitor and control behaviour during reasoning and decision-making. In this paper, we examined the conditions under which two fluency cues are used to monitor initial reasoning: answer fluency, or the speed with which the initial, intuitive answer is produced, and perceptual fluency, or the ease with which problems can be read. The first two experiments demonstrated that answer fluency reliably predicted Feeling of Rightness judgments to (...) conditional inferences and base rate problems, which subsequently predicted the amount of deliberate processing as measured by thinking time and answer changes; answer fluency also predicted retrospective confidence judgments. Moreover, the effect of answer fluency on reasoning was independent from the effect of perceptual fluency, establishing that these are empirically independent constructs. In five experiments with a variety of reasoning problems similar to those of Alter et al., we found no effect of perceptual fluency on FOR, retrospective confidence or accuracy; however, we did observe that participants spent more time thinking about hard to read stimuli, although this additional time did not result in answer changes. In our final two experiments, we found that perceptual disfluency increased accuracy on the CRT, but only amongst participants of high cognitive ability. As Alter et al.’s samples were gathered from prestigious universities, collectively, the data to this point suggest that perceptual fluency prompts additional processing in general, but this processing may results in higher accuracy only for the most cognitively able. (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)
Metacognitive research is dominated by meta-memory studies; meta-reasoning research is nascent. Accessibility – the number of associations for a stimulus – is a reliable heuristic cue for Feeling of Knowing when answering knowledge questions. We used a similar cue, subjective accessibility, for exposing commonalities and differences between meta-reasoning and meta-memory. In Experiment 1, participants faced solvable Compound Remote Associate problems mixed with unsolvable random word triads. We collected initial Judgement of Solvability, final JOS and confidence. Experiment 2 focused on confidence, (...) controlling for potential interactions among judgements. In Experiment 3, the participants memorised the same triads and rated Ease of Learning and Judgement of Learning. sAccessibility was associated with all judgements. Notably, it reliably predicted memory judgements and confidence in the provided solutions. However, it was unreliable for judging solvability. The findings highlight the importance of studying meta-reasoning for exposing the biasing factors in reasoning processes and for getting a broad perspective on metacognitive processes. (shrink)
The relationship between affect and metacognitive processes has been largely overlooked in both the affect and the metacognition literatures. While at the core of many affect-cognition theories is the notion that positive affective states lead people to be more confident, few studies systematically investigated how positive affect influences confidence and strategic behaviour. In two experiments, when participants were free to control answer interval to general knowledge questions, participants induced with positive affect outperformed participants in a neutral affect condition. However, in (...) Experiment 1 positive affect participants showed larger overconfidence than neutral affect participants. In Experiment 2, enhanced salience of social cues eliminated this overconfidence disadvantage of positive affect relative to neutral affect participants, without compromising their enhanced performance. Notably, in both experiments, positive affect led to compromised social norms regarding the answers’ informativeness. Implications for both affect and metacognition are discussed. (shrink)
In this reply, we provide an analysis of Alter et al. response to our earlier paper. In that paper, we reported difficulty in replicating Alter, Oppenheimer, Epley, and Eyre’s main finding, namely that a sense of disfluency produced by making stimuli difficult to perceive, increased accuracy on a variety of reasoning tasks. Alter, Oppenheimer, and Epley argue that we misunderstood the meaning of accuracy on these tasks, a claim that we reject. We argue and provide evidence that the tasks were (...) not too difficult for our populations and point out that in many cases performance on our tasks was well above chance or on a par with Alter et al.’s participants. Finally, we reiterate our claim that the distinction between answer fluency and perceptual fluency is genuine, and argue that Thompson et al. provided evidence that these are distinct factors that have different downstream effects on cognitive processes. (shrink)
This commentary addresses omissions in De Neys's model of fast-and-slow thinking from a metacognitive perspective. We review well-established meta-reasoning monitoring (e.g., confidence) and control processes (e.g., rethinking) that explain mental effort regulation. Moreover, we point to individual, developmental, and task design considerations that affect this regulation. These core issues are completely ignored or mentioned in passing in the target article.
Initial Judgment of Solvability (iJOS) is a metacognitive judgment that reflects solvers’ first impression as to whether a problem is solvable. We hypothesized that iJOS is inferred by combining prior expectations about the entire task with heuristic cues derived from each problem’s elements. In two experiments participants first provided quick iJOSs for all problems, then attempted to solve them. We manipulated expectations by changing the proportion of solvable problems conveyed to participants, 33%, 50%, or 66%, while the true proportion was (...) the 50% for all. In Experiment 1 we used the non-verbal Raven’s matrices and examined nameability as the element-based heuristic cue. Unsolvable matrices were generated by switching locations of elements in original Raven’s matrices. In Experiment 2 we used the verbal Compound Remote Associate (CRA) problems and examined word’s frequency in the language as the element-based heuristic cue. Unsolvable CRAs were random word triads from the same word pool. The results were consistent in suggesting that quick iJOS integrates prior expectations and experience-based heuristic cues. Notably, iJOS was predictive for the subsequent solving attempt only for Raven’s matrices. (shrink)
Understanding time investment while solving problems is central to metacognitive research. By the Diminishing Criterion Model (DCM), time regulation is guided by two stopping rules: a confidence criterion that drops as time is invested in each problem and the maximum time to be invested. This combination generates curved confidence–time associations. We compared the belief that intelligence is malleable, a growth mindset, to the belief that intelligence is fixed, and to neutral control groups. We hypothesized that a growth mindset leads people (...) to selectively invest time in problems carrying the hope of improvement. This extra time makes the curved DCM pattern curvier. In two experiments, participants primed with growth, fixed, or control mindsets solved analogies (Experiment 1) and compound remote associates (Experiment 2). As expected, in both experiments a growth mindset exhibited a curvier confidence–time pattern, while the fixed mindset and control groups replicated previous confidence–time associations. Most additional time was invested in problems with intermediate difficulty levels, suggesting strategic time allocation. The study offers useful measures for delving into factors that affect thinking time allocation. (shrink)