Project Präzision der kognitiven Selbstüberwachung: Die Rolle von exekutiven Funktionen

Basic data

Präzision der kognitiven Selbstüberwachung: Die Rolle von exekutiven Funktionen
01/04/2021 to 31/03/2024
Abstract / short description:
Successful learners tend to reflect on their progress during the completion of a task, such as writing an essay. Such self-reflection has been labelled metacognitive monitoring or introspection in different fields of research. Independent learners can use the information they gain through monitoring to reallocate their attention and other cognitive resources during a task, and to better plan such tasks in the future. The accuracy of these monitoring processes is known to vary across individuals and contexts. The overall goal for this project is to understand what determines accurate metacognitive
monitoring – across individuals, across different contexts, and from a developmental perspective. Executive functions (EFs) have been proposed as precursors to monitoring. EFs are a range of skills thought to be required in novel problem-solving contexts, including the inhibition of irrelevant information, updating of information in working memory, and the ability to switch quickly between tasks. The predominance of correlational designs in this field, however, has limited our insight into the nature of the relationship between EFs and monitoring. In preliminary work for the current proposal, experimental methods have been developed to investigate how EFs and monitoring are related. The results indicate a complex interaction between the ability to build an accurate mental representation of one’s own
performance on a task and the EF demands of that task in adults. More specifically, it appears that monitoring processes may compete with working memory for cognitive resources, but not with inhibition. The proposed project will expand these findings to the developmental field to address two new research questions: (1) How stable are the relationships between monitoring and EFs across childhood? The developmental trajectory of the relationships will be assessed by applying the experimental methods already developed to child participants. (2) What is the causal relationship between monitoring and EFs? This will be explored through a theoretically-driven
intervention study in which either monitoring or EFs are trained. The application of controlled experimental approaches to this important issue in the field of developmental psychology will provide a deeper understanding of the ontogeny of these higher order skills and thus supplement the existing correlative research in this field. It is anticipated that the results of this project will bring us closer to a full understanding of how humans reflect on their own performance. Therefore, this project has the potential to answer long-standing questions about how best to foster a flexible, independent approach to learning that is an important goal of education.

Involved staff


Institute of Psychology
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science

Local organizational units

Department of Psychology
Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen


Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

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