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Foundations of Metacognition$
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Michael J. Beran, Johannes Brandl, Josef Perner, and Joëlle Proust

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646739

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646739.001.0001

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Metacognition and mindreading: one or two functions?

Metacognition and mindreading: one or two functions?

Chapter:
(p.234) Chapter 14 Metacognition and mindreading: one or two functions?
Source:
Foundations of Metacognition
Author(s):

Joëlle Proust

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646739.003.0015

Given disagreements about the architecture of the mind, the nature of self-knowledge, and its epistemology, the question of how to understand the function and scope of metacognition — the control of one’s cognition — is still a matter of hot debate. A dominant view, the self-ascriptive view (or one-function view), has been that metacognition necessarily requires representing one’s own mental states as mental states, and, therefore, necessarily involves an ability to read one’s own mind. The self-evaluative view (or two-function view), in contrast, takes metacognition to involve a procedural form of knowledge that is generated by actually engaging in a first-order cognitive task, and monitoring its success. The comparative and developmental arguments supporting, respectively, each of these views are discussed in the light of Hampton’s operational definition of metacognition. New arguments are presented in favour of the two-function view. Recent behavioural and neuroscientific evidence suggests that metacognitive assessment relies on dedicated implicit mechanisms, which are wholly independent, and indeed dissociable, from theory-based self-attribution. The two-function view is claimed to be the best interpretation of these findings.

Keywords:   procedural metacognition, self-ascription, self-evaluation, adaptive accumulators, mindreading, unconscious heuristics, neural correlates

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