Crash course in psychology and neuroscience of metacognition

This seminar series will examine the neurobiological and psychological foundations of metacognition – the ability to reflect on and control other cognitive processes. For instance, if we realise that we may not know enough about a topic, and need to revise it before an exam, we are making a metacognitive judgment about our knowledge. We will explore an emerging neuroscience of metacognition, and ask questions such as: how can we measure metacognition in the lab? What are the leading theories of how we introspect? Is metacognition uniquely human, and when did it appear in evolution and development? What is the neural basis of metacognition, and do we have one or many metacognitive systems? How is metacognitive evaluation used in guiding future behaviour? What are the consequences of failures of metacognition, and are such failures related to changes in mental health?

The course will be aimed at a broad audience although some familiarity with experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience will be useful.


Dr. Stephen Fleming (University College London, UK), Dr. Marion Rouault



Îlot Bernard du Bois, 5-9 boulevard Maurice Bourdet, entrée rue longue des Capucins



  • May 22nd 10h30-12h00, Room 15, Îlot Bernard du Bois:

An introduction to metacognition: theory and measurement (Fleming)

  • May 24th 10h30-12h00, Room 16, Îlot Bernard du Bois:

Origins of metacognition in evolution and development (Fleming)

  • June 5th 10h30-12h00, Room 17, Îlot Bernard du Bois:

The neural architecture of metacognition (Fleming)

  • June 11th 103h0-12h00, Room 16, Îlot Bernard du Bois:

Functional roles of metacognition in behavioural control (Rouault)



10 hours (Ecoles doctorales 356 et 62)


*Suggested reading in advance


*Fleming SM (2014) The Power of Reflection Scientific American MIND

Dunlosky J & Tauber SK (2015) A brief history of metamemory research and handbook overview. In J. Dunlosky & S. K. Tauber (Eds) The Oxford Handbook of Metamemory

Smith JD (2009) The study of animal metacognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences

*Metcalfe J (2008) Evolution of metacognition. In J. Dunlosky & R.A. Bjork (Eds) Handbook of metamemory and memory (pp. 29-46)

Goupil, L., & Kouider, S. (2016). Behavioral and neural indices of metacognitive sensitivity in preverbal infants. Current Biology, 26(22), 3038-3045.

Fleming & Dolan (2014) The neural basis of metacognitive ability. In S.M. Fleming & C.D. Frith (Edts) The Cognitive Neuroscience of Metacognition

*Yeung, N., Summerfield, C., 2012. Metacognition in human decision-making: confidence and error monitoring. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 367, 1310–1321

Rouault, Seow, Gillan & Fleming (2018) Psychiatric symptom dimensions are associated with dissociable shifts in metacognition but not task performance. Biological Psychiatry

Purcell, B. A., & Kiani, R. (2016). Hierarchical decision processes that operate over distinct timescales underlie choice and changes in strategy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(31), E4531-E4540.

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