The development of metacognitive ability in adolescence

Conscious Cogn. 2013 Mar;22(1):264-71. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2013.01.004. Epub 2013 Jan 30.


Introspection, or metacognition, is the capacity to reflect on our own thoughts and behaviours. Here, we investigated how one specific metacognitive ability (the relationship between task performance and confidence) develops in adolescence, a period of life associated with the emergence of self-concept and enhanced self-awareness. We employed a task that dissociates objective performance on a visual task from metacognitive ability in a group of 56 participants aged between 11 and 41 years. Metacognitive ability improved significantly with age during adolescence, was highest in late adolescence and plateaued going into adulthood. Our results suggest that awareness of one's own perceptual decisions shows a prolonged developmental trajectory during adolescence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • ROC Curve
  • Self Concept*
  • Sex Factors
  • Theory of Mind*
  • Visual Perception
  • Young Adult