Foundations of Metacognition

Front Cover
Michael J. Beran, Johannes Brandl, Josef Perner, JoŽlle Proust
OUP Oxford, Sep 6, 2012 - Psychology - 364 pages
Metacognition refers to the awareness an individual has of their own mental processes (also referred to as ' thinking about thinking'). In the past thirty years metacognition research has become a rapidly growing field of interdisciplinary research within the cognitive sciences. Just recently, there have been major changes in this field, stimulated by the controversial issues of metacognition in nonhuman animals and in early infancy. Consequently the question what defines a metacognitive process has become a matter of debate: how should one distinguish between simple minds that are not yet capable of any metacognitive processing, and minds with a more advanced architecture that exhibit such a capacity? Do nonhuman animals process the ability to monitor their own mental actions? If metacognition is unique to humans, then at what stage in development does it occur, and how can we distinguish between cognitive and metacognitive processes? The Foundations of Metacognition brings together leading cognitive scientists to consider these questions. It explores them from three different perspectives: from an evolutionary point of view the authors ask whether there is sufficient evidence that some non-human primates or other animals monitor their mental states and thereby exhibit a form of metacognition. From a developmental perspective the authors ask when children start to monitor, evaluate und control their own minds. And from a philosophical point of view the main issue is how to draw the line between cognitive and metacognitive processes, and how to integrate the different functions in which metacognition is involved into a single coherent picture of the mind. The foundations of metacognition - whatever they will turn out to be - have to be as complex as this pattern of connections we discover in its effects. Bringing together researchers from across the cognitive sciences, the book is valuable for philosophers of mind, developmental and comparative psychologists, and neuroscientists.

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introductory thoughts
Metacognition in nonhuman animals
Metacognition in human development
Functions of metacognition

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About the author (2012)

Michael J. Beran is a Senior Research Scientist at the Language Research Center of Georgia State University. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Oglethorpe University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Georgia State University. His research is conducted with humans and nonhuman animals, including chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, capuchin monkeys, rhesus monkeys, and elephants. His research interests include metacognition, numerical cognition, planning and prospective memory, self-control, decision making, and language acquisition. He is a Fellow of Division 6 and Division 3 of the American Psychological Association. He was the inaugural Duane M. Rumbaugh Fellow at Georgia State University. His research has been featured on numerous television and radio programs and in magazines, including Animal Planet, BBC, New Scientist, the Wall Street Journal, and Scientific American Mind. Johannes L. Brandl is Assistant Professor at the Department of Philosophy, University of Salzburg. He received his PhD from the University of Graz, and got tenured at the University of Salzburg. His main areas of research are in philosophy of mind (theories of intentionality and self-awareness), epistemology (externalism and self-knowledge), and in the history of Austrian Phenomenology (the Brentano School). He was Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, the University of California, Irvine, and at the Centre for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University. Josef Perner received his PhD in Psychology from the University of Toronto. He was Professor in Experimental Psychology at the University of Sussex and is now Professor of Psychology and member of the Centre for Neurocognitive Research at the University of Salzburg. He is author of "Understanding the Representational Mind" (MIT Press, 1991) and over 150 articles on cognitive development (theory of mind, executive control, episodic memory, logical reasoning), consciousness (perception versus action), simulation in decision making, and theoretical issues of mental representation, consciousness, and metacognition. He served as President of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology, is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Academia Europaea, the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, the Association for Psychological Sciences, and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Basel. JoŽlle Proust studied philosophy and psychology at the University of Provence. A researcher at CNRS from 1976, she first conducted research on the history and the philosophy of logic. Her first book, derived from her habilitation thesis, Questions of form (Gallimard, 1986, Minnesota Press, 1989), received the bronze medal of CNRS.?? From then on, she turned to the analytic philosophy of mind: she published articles and books on intentionality and animal cognition (Comment l'Esprit vient aux BÍtes, Paris, 1997, Les animaux pensent-ils? 2003, 2010). She also explored the kind of awareness associated with agency and personal identity and in its perturbations in schizophrenia and autism. (La Nature de la Volontť, 2005). She further edited or co-edited seven books.