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Young Children Bet on Their Numerical Skills: Metacognition in the Numerical Domain

Vo, Vy A
Li, Rosa
Kornell, Nate
Cantlon, Jessica F
Published in Psychological Science. 2014, vol. 25, no. 9, p. 1712-1721
Abstract Metacognition, the ability to assess one's own knowledge, has been targeted as a critical learning mechanism in mathematics education. Yet the early childhood origins of metacognition have proven difficult to study. Using a novel nonverbal task and a comprehensive set of metacognitive measures, we provided the strongest evidence to date that young children are metacognitive. We showed that children as young as 5 years made metacognitive "bets" on their numerical discriminations in a wagering task. However, contrary to previous reports from adults, our results showed that children's metacognition is domain specific: Their metacognition in the numerical domain was unrelated to their metacognition in another domain (emotion discrimination). Moreover, children's metacognitive ability in only the numerical domain predicted their school-based mathematics knowledge. The data provide novel evidence that metacognition is a fundamental, domain-dependent cognitive ability in children. The findings have implications for theories of uncertainty and reveal new avenues for training metacognition in children.
PMID: 24973137
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Research group Groupe Alexandre Pouget (938)
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VO, Vy A et al. Young Children Bet on Their Numerical Skills: Metacognition in the Numerical Domain. In: Psychological Science, 2014, vol. 25, n° 9, p. 1712-1721. doi: 10.1177/0956797614538458 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:39681

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Deposited on : 2014-08-25

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