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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Perceptual and Memory Metacognition in Children


Confidence can be experienced for all kinds of decisions – evaluating the value of a piece of artwork, determining whether the lights are flickering, or remembering where we left our keys. These are fundamentally different kinds of decisions, but does that mean the confidence we feel is also fundamentally different for each one? Here, we test competing theories of domain-generality and domain-specificity in metacognitive ability by correlating individual differences in memory and perceptual confidence judgments in childhood. Children performed a recognition memory task and an area discrimination task followed by confidence judgments. Using 4 measures of metacognitive ability (indicated by higher confidence for accurate compared to inaccurate judgments: difference scores, meta-d’, MRatio, and HMeta-d’), we find no significant correlations between this ability in memory and perceptual tasks. These findings support an account of domain-specificity in children’s metacognitive abilities.

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