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TitleSocial and cultural contributions to metacognition
Authorvan der Plas, Elisa
AbstractExplicit metacognition is a hallmark of human consciousness. Its central role in the exchange of knowledge within social groups suggests that it may be shaped by social interactions. But whether, and how, social interactions may exert an effect on metacognition remains unknown. The experiments conducted in my PhD exemplify each in their own way how metacognitive ability is related to the ability to understand other people’s minds (mentalizing). Chapter Two and Three show that people with compromised mentalizing ability are also more likely to have metacognitive difficulties. Contrary to the common belief that people have privileged access to their own mental states, I found that people infer their mental states indirectly from their behaviour––similar to how they infer the mental states of others. Correspondingly, people who are unable make such inferences about others (as is the case in Autism Spectrum Condition or ASC) also tend to have difficulties with doing so about themselves. Chapter Four and Five show that cultural differences in collaboration and interaction affect metacognitive ability. Across two studies, I found that Chinese students had better awareness of their own and others’ mental states than occupation, age, income, gender and performance matched English students. This enhanced ability to process new evidence and correct errors generalized to how the different populations processed new social advice. Together, this work suggest that metacognition is deeply rooted in social interaction and culture.
TypeThesis; Doctoral
PublisherUCL (University College London)
Source Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).