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Metacognition in functional cognitive disorder

Bhome, Rohan; McWilliams, Andrew; Price, Gary; Poole, Norman A; Howard, Robert J; Fleming, Stephen M; Huntley, Jonathan D; (2022) Metacognition in functional cognitive disorder. Brain Communications , 4 (2) , Article fcac041. 10.1093/braincomms/fcac041. Green open access

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Abstract

Functional cognitive disorder is common but underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Metacognition, an individual’s ability to reflect on and monitor cognitive processes, is likely to be relevant. Local metacognition refers to an ability to estimate confidence in cognitive performance on a moment-to-moment basis, whereas global metacognition refers to long-run self-evaluations of overall performance. Using a novel protocol comprising task-based measures and hierarchical Bayesian modelling, we compared local and global metacognitive performance in individuals with functional cognitive disorder. Eighteen participants with functional cognitive disorder (mean age = 49.2 years, 10 males) were recruited to this cross-sectional study. Participants completed computerized tasks that enabled local metacognitive efficiency for perception and memory to be measured using the hierarchical meta-d’ model within a signal detection theory framework. Participants also completed the Multifactorial Memory Questionnaire measuring global metacognition, and questionnaires measuring anxiety and depression. Estimates of local metacognitive efficiency were compared with those estimated from two control groups who had undergone comparable metacognitive tasks. Global metacognition scores were compared with the existing normative data. A hierarchical regression model was used to evaluate associations between global metacognition, depression and anxiety and local metacognitive efficiency, whilst simple linear regressions were used to evaluate whether affective symptomatology and local metacognitive confidence were associated with global metacognition. Participants with functional cognitive disorder had intact local metacognition for perception and memory when compared with controls, with the 95% highest density intervals for metacognitive efficiency overlapping with the two control groups in both cognitive domains. Functional cognitive disorder participants had significantly lower global metacognition scores compared with normative data; Multifactorial Memory Questionnaire-Ability subscale (t = 6.54, P < 0.0001) and Multifactorial Memory Questionnaire-Satisfaction subscale (t = 5.04, P < 0.0001). Mood scores, global metacognitive measures and metacognitive bias were not significantly associated with local metacognitive efficiency. Local metacognitive bias [β = −0.20 (SE = 0.09), q = 0.01] and higher depression scores as measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 [β = −1.40 (SE = 2.56), q = 0.01] were associated with the lower global metacognition scores. We show that local metacognition is intact, whilst global metacognition is impaired, in functional cognitive disorder, suggesting a decoupling between the two metacognitive processes. In a Bayesian model, an aberrant prior (impaired global metacognition), may override bottom-up sensory input (intact local metacognition), giving rise to the subjective experience of abnormal cognitive processing. Future work should further investigate the interplay between local and global metacognition in functional cognitive disorder.

Type: Article
Title: Metacognition in functional cognitive disorder
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/braincomms/fcac041
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/braincomms/fcac041
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Guarantors of Brain. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/)
Keywords: Bayesian model, depression, functional cognitive disorder, metacognition, signal detection theory
UCL classification: 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 > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
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 > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Neurodegenerative Diseases
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10144799
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