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The effect of metacognitive training on confidence and strategic reminder setting

Engeler, NC; Gilbert, SJ; (2020) The effect of metacognitive training on confidence and strategic reminder setting. PLoS One , 15 (10) , Article e0240858. 10.1371/journal.pone.0240858. Green open access

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Abstract

Individuals often choose between remembering information using their own memory ability versus using external resources to reduce cognitive demand (i.e. ‘cognitive offloading’). For example, to remember a future appointment an individual could choose to set a smartphone reminder or depend on their unaided memory ability. Previous studies investigating strategic reminder setting found that participants set more reminders than would be optimal, and this bias towards reminder-setting was predicted by metacognitive underconfidence in unaided memory ability. Due to the link between underconfidence in memory ability and excessive reminder setting, the aim of the current study was to investigate whether metacognitive training is an effective intervention to a) improve metacognitive judgment accuracy, and b) reduce bias in strategic offloading behaviour. Participants either received metacognitive training which involved making performance predictions and receiving feedback on judgment accuracy, or were part of a control group. As predicted, metacognitive training increased judgment accuracy: participants in the control group were significantly underconfident in their memory ability, whereas the experimental group showed no significant metacognitive bias. However, contrary to predictions, both experimental and control groups were significantly biased toward reminder-setting, and did not differ significantly. Therefore, reducing metacognitive bias was not sufficient to eliminate the bias towards reminders. We suggest that the reminder bias likely results in part from erroneous metacognitive evaluations, but that other factors such as a preference to avoid cognitive effort may also be relevant. Finding interventions to mitigate these factors could improve the adaptive use of external resources.

Type: Article
Title: The effect of metacognitive training on confidence and strategic reminder setting
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0240858
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0240858
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10113591
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