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02-04-2011 - Metadata

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Lately there has been research on metathinking and metamemory. In metathinking you are thinking about how you think and process your thoughts. With metamemory you are remembering and thinking about your memory. If you follow a routine that always works to prepare for a test, you are using metathinking. If you keep a running grocery list because you can't remember what you need once you get to the store, you are using metamemory.

Are there other meta processes going on? It would appear that metabelief, metaknowledge and even metaperception exist as well, if only as concepts. Utilization of these concepts encompass a framework with which we can create situational awareness and monitor the traffic within our minds.

These are blurbs from a recent article related to this topic:

Brain Matter Linked to Introspective Thoughts: Structure of Prefrontal Cortex Helps Humans Think About One's Own Thinking

A specific region of the brain appears to be larger in individuals who are good at turning their thoughts inward and reflecting upon their decisions, according to new research published in the journal Science. This act of introspection -- or "thinking about your thinking" -- is a key aspect of human consciousness, though scientists have noted plenty of variation in peoples' abilities to introspect.

...all of the participants' decision-making abilities were on par with each others' -- only the participants' knowledge of their own decision-making abilities differed.

"It's like that show, 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?'" said Weil. "An introspective contestant will go with his or her final answer when they are quite sure of it, and perhaps phone a friend when they are unsure. But, a contestant who is less introspective would not be as effective at judging how likely their answer is to be correct."

"We want to know why we are aware of some mental processes while others proceed in the absence of consciousness," said Fleming. "There may be different levels of consciousness, ranging from simply having an experience, to reflecting upon that experience. Introspection is on the higher end of this spectrum -- by measuring this process and relating it to the brain we hope to gain insight into the biology of conscious thought."

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