The ability to monitor and evaluate one’s own thinking, often referred to as metacognition, is the hallmark of effective cognitive processing and an essential facet of learning across the life span. As a result, educational and psychological research studies are replete with explorations of the key components underlying individuals’ capacity to engage in metacognitive processing. Metacognition is often succinctly defined as “thinking about one’s own thinking,” where the “meta” prefix represents the self-referential aspect of cognition. This entry provides a brief overview of the historical roots of metacognition; two perspectives on the primary components of metacognition; and principles gleaned from contemporary, empirical investigations.

Historical Development

Early philosophers and psychologists were aware of the importance of examining one’s own thought processes long before the use of the ...

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