Metacognitive neuroscience Book Chapter

Schwartz, BL, Bacon, E. (2013). Metacognitive neuroscience . 355-371. 10.4324/9780203805503

cited authors

  • Schwartz, BL; Bacon, E


  • Metacognition can be defined as the awareness, experience, and control of our cognitive processes. Despite the obvious importance of metacognition to our sense of self (Metcalfe & Kober, 2005), there has been little research concerning the neuroscience of metacognition. However, those studies that have been conducted do show some common findings. It is clear the frontal lobes, particularly prefrontal areas, are essential to metacognition. Neuroimaging studies showed that prefrontal cortex is active during judgments of learning (JOLs), feeling-of-knowing (FOK) judgments, and tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) states. Neuropsychological patients with prefrontal damage show deficits in monitoring accuracy. Equally important, some drugs selectively impair metacognition. Studies have now demonstrated that benzodiazepines impair global metamemory assessments; that is, users of the drug are unaware of the amnesia induced by the drugs. However, benzodiazepines do not seem to affect relative accuracy in FOK judgments and JOLs. We speculate on the relation of metacognition to other tasks associated with the prefrontal lobes.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 355

end page

  • 371