This entry focuses on doubt in childhood as well as the positive and negative consequences of doubt over the life span. Doubt is a metacognitive experience of uncertainty. However, important distinctions exist between types of doubt: Although informational doubt is uncertainty regarding whether one has enough information for an accurate judgment (epistemic dimension; i.e., knowing you are uncertain), personal (self) doubt is uncertainty in one’s competence (affective dimension; i.e., feeling uncertain). Although informational doubts arouse little discomfort, personal doubts are extremely unpleasant and people are motivated to resolve them.


Different types of self-doubt in childhood are distinguished according to children’s ability to monitor it. Young children may experience doubt but lack conscious awareness of it. At later stages, they become aware of doubt but cannot recognize ...

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