Skip to main content Accessibility help

Different Components of Metacognition and their Relationship to Psychotic-Like Experiences

  • Clare Reeder (a1), Teuta Rexhepi-Johansson (a1) and Til Wykes (a1)

Background: Theories of the development of psychotic symptoms have suggested that metacognitive beliefs might play a part. However, studies offering supporting evidence have failed to distinguish between metacognitive beliefs about the consequences of having certain thoughts, and metacognitive beliefs about one's own cognitive skills. Aims: To distinguish metacognitive beliefs and investigate the extent of their association with psychotic-like experiences. Method: Participants were 60 healthy adults recruited primarily from two university campuses. Three measures of metacognition were administered: (i) Metacognitions Questionnaire (MCQ-30); (ii) Metacognitive Assessment Inventory; and (iii) Koriat General Questions Test; and two schizotypy questionnaires: O-Life and SPQ-B and data were analysed using an exploratory principal components analysis of the metacognition measures. Results: Three principal components were identified: (i) Beliefs about thoughts; (ii) Cognitive confidence; and (iii) Beliefs about cognitive regulation. Only the “beliefs about thoughts” component was significantly associated with the “psychotic-like experiences” factor, extracted from the measures of schizotypy. Conclusions: The finding supports theories suggesting that psychotic symptoms may be caused in part by negative metacognitive beliefs about thoughts. However, metacognition is a complex construct that is currently poorly understood.

Corresponding author
Reprint requests to Clare Reeder, PO77, Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK. E-mail:
Hide All
Baker, C. A. and Morrison, A. P. (1998). Cognitive processes in auditory hallucinations: attributional biases and metacognition. Psychological Medicine, 28, 11991208.
Bentall, R. P. (1990). The syndromes and symptoms of psychosis: or why you can't play twenty questions with the concept of schizophrenia and hope to win. In Bentall, R.P. (Ed.): Reconstructing Schizophrenia. London: Routledge.
Cartwright-Hatton, S. and Wells, A. (1997). Beliefs about worry and intrusions: the meta-cognitions questionnaire and its correlates. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 11, 279296.
Flavell, J. H. (1979). Meta-cognition and cognitive monitoring: new area of cognitive developmental inquiry. American Psychologist, 34, 906911.
Frith, C. D. (1992). The Cognitive Neuropsychology of Schizophrenia. Hove, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Garcia-Montes, J. M., Cangas, A., Perez-Alvarez, M., Fidalgo, A. M. and Gutierrez, O. (2006). The role of metacognitions and thought control techniques in predisposition to auditory and visual hallucinations. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45, 309317.
Heinrichs, R. W. and Zakzanis, K. K. (1998). Neurocognitive deficit in schizophrenia: a quantitative review of the evidence. Neuropsychology, 12, 426445.
Koren, D., Seidman, L. J., Goldsmith, M. and Harvey, P. D. (2006). Real-world cognitive – and metacognitive – dysfunction in schizophrenia: a new approach for measuring (and remediating) more “right stuff”. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 32, 310326.
Koren, D., Seidman, L. J., Poyurovsky, M., Goldsmith, M., Viksman, P., Zichel, S. and Klein, E. (2004). The neuropsychological basis of insight in first-episode schizophrenia: a pilot metacognitive study. Schizophrenia Research, 70, 195202.
Koriat, A., Lichtenstein, S. and Fischoff, B. (1980). Reasons for confidence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 6, 107118.
Larøi, F. and Van Der Linden, M. (2005). Metacognition in proneness towards hallucinations and delusions. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 43, 14251441.
Mason, O., Linney, Y. and Claridge, G. (2005). Short scales for measuring schizotypy. Schizophrenia Research, 78, 293296.
Morrison, A. P. (2001). The interpretation of intrusions in psychosis: an integrative cognitive approach to hallucinations and delusions. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 29, 257276.
Morrison, A. P., Haddock, G. and Tarrier, N. (1995). Intrusive thoughts and auditory hallucinations: a cognitive approach. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 23, 265280.
Morrison, A. P. and Wells, A. (2003). A comparison of metacognitions in patients with hallucinations, delusions, panic disorder, and non-patient controls. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 41, 251256.
Morrison, A. P., Wells, A. and Nothard, S. (2000). Cognitive factors in predisposition to auditory and visual hallucinations. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 39, 6778.
Raine, A. and Banishay, D. (1995). The SPQ-B: a brief screening instrument for schizotypal personality disorder. Journal of Personality Disorders, 9, 346355.
Schraw, G. and Dennison, R. S. (1994). Assessing metacognitive awareness. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 19, 460475
Stirling, J., Barkus, E. and Lewis, S. (2007). Hallucination-proneness, schizotypy and metacognition. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45, 14041408.
Wells, A. and Cartwright-Hatton, S. (2004). A short form of the metacognitions questionnaire: properties of the MCQ-30. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 42, 385396.
Wykes, T. and Reeder, C. (2005). Cognitive Remediation Therapy for Schizophrenia: theory and practice. London: Brunner Routledge.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
  • ISSN: 1352-4658
  • EISSN: 1469-1833
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioural-and-cognitive-psychotherapy
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed