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Home / Education / Psychology / Difference Between Cognition and Metacognition

Difference Between Cognition and


Metacognition
Posted on October 29, 2014 by admin

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Cognition vs Metacognition

Since the study of cognition and metacognition is an interesting topic in a number of


disciplines, one can have an interest to find out the difference between cognition and
metacognition. However, for most people these two are very confusing. This is because the
line of demarcation between the cognition and metacognition is often difficult to identify
since these two tend to overlap. Basically, cognition deals with mental processes such as
memory, learning, problem-solving, attention and decision making. However, the
metacognition deals with an individuals higher order cognitive processes , where a person
has active control over his cognition. The aim of this article is to present a basic
understanding of cognition and metacognition while emphasizing the difference between
cognition and metacognition.

What is Cognition?
Cognition can simply be defined as all mental processes and abilities in which people engage
on a daily basis such as memory, learning, problem-solving, evaluation, reasoning and
decision making. Cognition helps to generate new knowledge through mental processes and
also helps to use the knowledge that people have in daily life. Educational psychologists were
especially interested in studying the cognitive processes of individuals through the growth
and development of children. Jean Piaget is specifically important in this sphere since he
presented stages of cognitive development of children from the birth to adulthood. They are
sensorimotor stage (birth 2 years), pre-operational stage (2 -7 years), concrete operational
stage (7 11 years), and finally formal operational stage (adolescence adulthood) .

A systems approach on mental operations

What is Metacognition?
Metacognition is often defined as thinking about thinking. It allows us to complete a given
task well through planning, monitoring, evaluating and comprehending. This means while
cognitive processes allow normal functioning of individuals, metacognition takes it a level
higher making a person more aware of his/her cognitive processes. For example, imagine a
child who is completing a mathematical question. The cognitive process would allow the
child to complete the task. However, the metacognition would double check through
monitoring and evaluating the answer. In this sense, metacognition helps to verify and build
the confidence of the child. This is why it can be said that metacognition helps successful
learning.

According to John Flavell (1979), there are two categories of metacognition. They are
metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive experience. The first category of metacognitive
knowledge refers to the knowledge that helps to control the cognitive processes. This once
again has been divided as knowledge of person variable, task variable and strategy variable.
These deal with a persons awareness of his capabilities, nature of the task and the method
that needs to be accompanied in order to complete the task. On the other hand, metacognitive
experience involves the strategies used to control cognitive processes so that the individual
can accomplish the task successfully. These allow a person to monitor and evaluate while
engaging in the process. Now, let us try to identify the key difference that exists between
cognition and metacognition.

What is the difference between Cognition and


Metacognition?
The main difference between these two stem from the fact that while cognition helps a person
to engage in a variety of mental processes in order to make sense of the world around him
metacognition goes a step further. It deals with the active control of cognitive processes. This
is why metacognition usually precedes a cognitive activity.

Image Courtesy:

1. Mental Operations by Tekks English Wikipedia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Related posts:

Difference Between Conceptual and Perceptual


Difference Between Piaget and Vygotsky
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"Difference Between Cognition and Metacognition." DifferenceBetween.Com. October 29, 2014. <
http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-cognition-and-vs-metacognition/ >

Filed Under: Psychology Tagged With: cognition, cognition and metacognition, cognition
definition, metacognition, metacognition definition, metacognitive experience, metacognitive
knowledge

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