Implicit Memory and Metacognition

By Lynne M. Reder | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Metacognition Does Not Imply Awareness: Strategy Choice Is Governed by Implicit Learning and Memory

Lynne M. Reder Christian D. Schunn Carnegie Mellon University

Metacognition means different things to different people and is generally acknowledged to include a wide range of phenomena. Nonetheless, there are two core meanings of the term metacognition to which most researchers using that label often refer: monitoring and control of cognitive processes. Monitoring of cognitive processes can include awareness of the component steps in cognitive processes as well as awareness of various features of these steps including their duration and their successfulness. For example, one might be aware of the steps one goes through in serving a tennis ball, as well as the successfulness of the serve.

Monitoring typically refers to awareness of the features of the current behavior. In contrast, control of cognitive processes refers to the processes that modify behavior, such as the selection of a strategy for performing a task. For example, deciding whether to search for a phone number in memory or search for it in a phone book, as well as deciding how long to search memory before giving up, are instances of control processes. In this chapter we focus on the relationship between monitoring and control of cognition in a special way: We argue that some aspects of metacognition typically called monitoring, and therefore implying awareness, actually operate without much awareness. Moreover, the control processes that operate to affect strategy choice are frequently influenced by implicit processes.

The relationship between the two forms of metacognition is particularly interesting. One possibility is that control of cognitive processes occurs through explicit monitoring of cognitive processes. Although this assumption is not frequently stated explicitly, it is clearly a very commonly held

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