People spend considerable time reflecting on their mental activity. A child preparing for a test may reflect on how well the child learned the material and the results of these reflections may motivate the child to revisit the material that felt more difficult to learn. An older adult may experience his memory for the last conversation with friends to be uncertain and decide to double-check the time and place of their next encounter. These tendencies to reflect on the quality of cognitive processes and to use the result of these reflections as a basis for decision-making are common manifestations of metacognition. This entry first defines metacognition, with particular reference to the memory domain, and summarizes its development from early childhood to older adulthood.

Metacognition is broadly ...

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