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Human Metacognition Across Domains: Insights from Individual Differences and Neuroimaging

  • Marion Rouault (a1), Andrew McWilliams (a1) (a2) (a3), Micah G. Allen (a1) and Stephen M. Fleming (a1) (a4)


Metacognition is the capacity to evaluate and control one’s own cognitive processes. Metacognition operates over a range of cognitive domains, such as perception and memory, but the neurocognitive architecture supporting this ability remains controversial. Is metacognition enabled by a common, domain-general resource that is recruited to evaluate performance on a variety of tasks? Or is metacognition reliant on domain-specific modules? This article reviews recent literature on the domain-generality of human metacognition, drawing on evidence from individual differences and neuroimaging. A meta-analysis of behavioral studies found that perceptual metacognitive ability was correlated across different sensory modalities, but found no correlation between metacognition of perception and memory. However, evidence for domain-generality from behavioral data may suffer from a lack of power to identify correlations across model parameters indexing metacognitive efficiency. Neuroimaging data provide a complementary perspective on the domain-generality of metacognition, revealing co-existence of neural signatures that are common and distinct across tasks. We suggest that such an architecture may be appropriate for “tagging” generic feelings of confidence with domain-specific information, in turn forming the basis for priors about self-ability and modulation of higher-order behavioral control.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited.

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Author for correspondence: Stephen M. Fleming, E-mail:


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Human Metacognition Across Domains: Insights from Individual Differences and Neuroimaging

  • Marion Rouault (a1), Andrew McWilliams (a1) (a2) (a3), Micah G. Allen (a1) and Stephen M. Fleming (a1) (a4)


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