Metacognition and the Mind
Thinking about thinking—and how we come to know what we know
Alan Castel Ph.D.
Verified by Psychology Today
Alan D. Castel, Ph.D., is a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and studies metacognition and aging. He is the author of Better with Age: The Psychology of Successful Aging.
Do you ever find yourself reflecting on your own thoughts, or wondering whether you will remember something? Metacognition allows us to think about our thoughts, and to monitor our memories. Inaccurate metacognition can make us think we know more than we know, or think we will remember something, when in fact we won’t. As we get older we may become more aware of how our memory works, how and when it fails, and what we can do to adapt to these changes. The metacognitive mind allows us to know what we know, and to know what we don’t know and what we can do about it.