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1 - Introduction: toward an applied metacognition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2009

Bennett L. Schwartz
Affiliation:
Associate Professor of Psychology Florida International University, USA
Timothy J. Perfect
Affiliation:
Professor of Experimental Psychology University of Plymouth, UK
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Summary

Metacognition is traditionally defined as the experiences and knowledge we have about our own cognitive processes (e.g. Flavell, 1979). Although ripe for philosophers and cognitive psychologists (e.g. Nelson, 1996), this topic may not appear at a first glance to be one immediately applicable to everyday human life. However, we hope to show in this book that metacognition has broad applications across a number of different settings. Furthermore, we contend that, unlike some laboratory research, metacognitive data from the lab have parallels to real-world phenomena and therefore can be applied. The nature of metacognition is such that, in order to study it effectively in the lab, one must devise situations that mimic real life. The current volume will also attest to the ease with which metacognition research moves back and forth from theoretical questions to applied concerns, a situation we consider most desirable in any scientific endeavor.

Let us begin with examples from everyday life in which metacognition is important. Imagine a student studying for an exam. It is well past midnight, she has been studying for hours, and is exhausted. The decision that this student must make is whether she has studied the material for the exam sufficiently and can go to sleep, or whether she must brew another pot of coffee and keep studying. The student must decide whether the material is generally well-learned, and if not, what information necessitates further study.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2002

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References

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