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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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On the nature, evolution, development, and epistemology of metacognition: introductory thoughts

On the nature, evolution, development, and epistemology of metacognition: introductory thoughts

Chapter:
(p.1) On the nature, evolution, development, and epistemology of metacognition: introductory thoughts
Source:
Foundations of Metacognition
Author(s):

Michael J. Beran

Johannes L. Brandl

Josef Perner

Joëlle Proust

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646739.003.0001

Humans have the ability to monitor their own cognition and change their behaviour based on information gleaned from that monitoring. We think about our own thinking, and are often fully aware of our mental states. This metacognitive ability is closely linked to, and may be the basis for, human consciousness. This chapter states that some non-human animals (hereafter, animals) may have a similar ability to monitor their own cognition, though the exact nature of this ability is unknown. The chapter reviews several perceptual, psychophysical, and memory experiments that show animals apparently perceiving and using information about their own mental states. Animal performance in these tasks shows interesting parallels to human performance. The chapter also reviews some problems with this evidence, and discuss ways that researchers have sought to overcome those problems. The chapter states that, taken as a whole, the evidence strongly indicates that some animals have metaminds — minds capable of understanding not only perceptual information, but also information about their own mental states.

Keywords:   metacognition, uncertainty monitoring, monkeys, perception, psychophysics, memory, comparative psychology, consciousness

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