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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Investigating the Impact of Metacognition on Working Memory and Procedural Learning Mechanisms


This study examined the influence of metacognition on declarative and reinforcement learning (RL) mechanisms. We collected data from 218 undergraduates using a within-subjects metacognitive manipulation of a stimulus-response (S-R) learning task created by Collins (2018). Contributions of declarative and RL mechanisms are assessed by differences in learning rate for blocks of 3 items versus 6 items, and by the rate of forgetting with an incidental post-test. If metacognition differentially affects declarative and RL, we expect a three-way interaction between the task phase (learning/post-test), block type (long/short), and metacognition (before/during). Our results showed significant main effects of phase (F(1,217) =143.18, p=9.18e-32), length (F(1,217)=541.11, p=2.06e-104) and metacognition (F(1,217) = 19.78, p = 9.22e-06), with better performance during the learning phase, short blocks, and metacognitive manipulation. A significant phase by metacognition interaction (F(1,217) =8.11, 4.45e-03) suggested that metacognition monitoring improved test performance while having little effect on learning performance.

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