A unique feature of the human species is that people not only think – but also reflect upon their own thinking. This self-reflective activity – ‘thinking about thinking’ – lies at the heart of the construct of meta-cognition (see Dunlosky and Metcalfe 2008, for a recent overview of this topic). As the prefix of this term, ‘meta’, literally means ‘above’, it is clear that the cornerstone of metacognition is the proposition that some cognitive processes appear to operate at a higher level than other such processes. For example, most adults can not only read (a cognitive process) but are also able to evaluate the degree to which they understand the meaning of what they read (‘metacomprehension’ – a meta-cognitive process). So, the term ‘meta-cognition’ refers to ‘the scientific study of the mind’s ability to monitor and control itself or, in other words, the study of our ability to know about our knowing’ (Van Overschelde 2008, p. 47). But it goes further than that. Thus Halpern (2003) defines meta-cognition not only as ‘our knowledge of what we know’ (p. 19) but also as ‘the use of this knowledge to direct further learning activities’. So, in summary, the construct of meta-cognition refers to people’s knowledge and monitoring of, and ability to exert strategic control over, their own mental processes (Moran 2004).
|Title of host publication||The neurophysiological foundations of mental and motor imagery|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Publication status||Published - 14 Jan 2010|