Is there a G factor for metacognition? Correlations in retrospective metacognitive sensitivity across tasks.

Research paper by Audrey A Mazancieux, Stephen M SM Fleming, Céline C Souchay, Chris J A CJA Moulin

Indexed on: 20 Mar '20Published on: 20 Mar '20Published in: Journal of experimental psychology. General


Is metacognition a general resource shared across domains? Previous research has documented consistent biases in judgments across tasks. In contrast, there is debate regarding the domain generality or the domain specificity of the ability to discriminate between correct and incorrect answers (metacognitive sensitivity) because most previous work has documented nonsignificant correlations across domains. However, such null findings may be due to low statistical power and differences in task structure or performance, thereby masking a latent domain generality in metacognition. We examined across-domain correlations in confidence level and sensitivity in a large sample ( = 181). Participants performed 4 2-alternative forced-choice tasks (episodic memory, semantic memory, executive function, and visual perception) with trial-by-trial confidence judgments. We found significant correlations in average confidence level across tasks. By applying a hierarchical Bayesian model to estimate cross-task covariance, we found five out 6 cross-task correlations in metacognitive efficiency (meta-) were significant, even for pairs of tasks in which first-order performance was not correlated. This suggests that at least some components of metacognitive efficiency in retrospective confidence are domain general. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).