Disclaimer: English Kinda Thing

The sole purpose of the "English Kinda Thing" is to document my attempts to correct my own mistakes in standard English usage and to share the resources I find. In no way do I attempt to teach nobody English through these blurbs--just as I intend not to teach nobody to be a neurotic and psychotic handicap in Ratology Reloaded or Down with Meds! :-)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Flavell (1979) Metacognition and cognitive monitory--In Ratprincess' eyes

Flavell's definition of Metacognition: knowledge and cognition about cognitive phenomena.  Metacognition plays an important role in tasks like language acquisition and problem solving.  The notion of metacogntion is applied in areas such as cognitive behavior modification (CBT?)

Flavell's model of cognitive monitoring

Flavell considered cognitive monitoring is done through the actions and interactions of four classes of phenomena: a) metacognitive knowledge, b) metacognitive experiences, c) goals/tasks, and d) actions/strategies.  Metacognitive knowledge and experiences are considered to differ from cognitive knowledge and experiences in the nature and contents--but not in the form or quality.

Metacognitive knowledge:

  1. Flavell's definition: The segment of knowledge that has to do with people as cognitive creatures and with their cognitive tasks, goals, actions, and experiences.
  2. Ex. I have disordered thinking and my reality might not be shared by the others.

Metacognitive experiences:

  1. Flavell's definition: Any conscious cognitive or affective experiences that accompany and pertain to any intellectual enterprise.
  2. Ex. Before Valentine's Day, 2008, I had the metacognitive knowledge that my psychotic symptoms were really bad but I failed to observe enough symptoms to match up with my expectations.


  1. Flavell's definition: The objectives of a cognitive enterprise.
  2. Ex.  Detect delusions.


  1. Flavell's definition: The cognition or other behaviors employed to achieve the goals/tasks.
  2. Ex.  Match observations with established corpus of contents, behavioral patterns, and impacts of delusions.

Metacognitive knowledge

Flavell (1979) considered metacognitive knowledge to consist of "knowledge or beliefs about what factors or variables act and interact in what ways to affect the course and outcome of cognitive enterprise."  He also classified these factors into three major categories--person, task, and strategy.


  1. Intraindividual differences:  I can handle my head better with the tactics than without.  
  2. Interindividual differences:  The tactics working for me might not be appropriate for the others
  3. Universals of cognition:  There are different degrees of proficiency we can achieve in the different learning tasks--the application of the tactics.  Sometimes it might be difficult for us to detect our defects and control it with the workarounds.  You also have the insight that you might not be able to perform later what you can able to perform now and vice versa.


  1. The nature of information:  The nature of information (e.g., contaminated by psychotic symptoms) might make it difficult to warrant "accurate" (i.e., align with the reality shared by the others) judgments about the "world." 
  2. Task demands and goals:It's harder for me to engage in higher-order cognitive processing without invoking the symptoms.


It's possible to devise strategies that can be effective to achieving the goal of neutralizing and negating delusional notions--such as airplane flying in the sky and flight 1549.
"Metacognitive knowledge is not fundamentally different from other knowledge stored in long-term memory."  As a result, it can be retrieved through either deliberate conscious search (e.g., the search for a strategy) or be done unintentional and automatically.

Metacognitive knowledge can be...
  1. Inaccurate: I allow for false positive... all observations with uncertain intents are classified as symptomatic.
  2. Fail to be activated: You can't detect delusions that's already classified by your head as the reality shared by the others.
  3. Fail to have much or any influence when activated: The general awareness that I am delusional itself sometimes doesn't stop the delusion to have impacts on me.
  4. Can fail to have a beneficial or adaptive effect when influential: When the symptoms were bad back in the era of origami, around the time when Dr. Strauss used to come visit me, origami worked for certain times and the focus on origami calmed my head down after getting overheated.  Then, at some time, when the symptoms were more on the wildside again, origami surely calmed the head down but, when concentrated on papge folding, the voices became even more prominent since all's quite except for the voices.  Though... I did pull it through...
Metacognitive knowledge can lead people to "select, evaluate, revise, and abandon cognitive tasks, goals, and strategies in light of their relationship with one another and with your own abilities and interests with respect to that enterprise."

For the perspective of the delusional enterprise, there is something interesting about the notion of abandoning cognitive tasks, goals, and strategies.  So, for instance, when doing literature review now, I would hear people say things like I am a copycat...  instead of making it a goal to figure out how they get the up-to-date information on what I had just done and find the strategies to intervene accordingly and how they are wrong... as a delusion, upon the observation, I have to abandon that default task and shift to the task of negating the belief in formation to prevent the further build up of the delusional system and conspiracy theory.

Metacognitive experiences

"Many metacognitive experiences have to do with where you are in an enterprise and what sort of progress you are making or are likely to make."
How psychotic am I today in comparison to, say, one week ago before the dosage change with the enterprise being the psychotic enterprise.  This sentence speaks for the inconnectedness between metacognitive knowledge and experiences since how I feel involves the comparison of my metacognitive knowledge about my state of being a week ago and the new metacognitive knowledge derived through my recent experiences.

Metacognitive experiences are especially likely to take place in situations that requires "careful, highly conscious thinking"... such as as when decisions and actions are both weighty and risky, and where there is absence of high affective arousal or other inhibiting factors (e.g., Langer, 1978).
The decisions I make and actions I take in handling my psychotic symptoms are surely weighty and risky.  History has taught me the lesson of one step wrong... whole path wrong.  That should be weighty and risky enough.
Metacognitive experiences and effects on cognitive goals/tasks, actions/strategies, and metacognitive knowledge
  • Metacognitive experiences can lead you to establish new goals and to revise or abandon old ones.
  1. Instead of running my head on where the surveillance devices are, change the goal to getting better in using workarounds to negate and neutralize the symptomatic observations
  • Metacognitive experiences can affect your metacognitive knowledge base by adding to it, deleting from it, or revising it... the Piagetian notion of assimilation and accommodation.
  1. This is why I went direct into the cuckoo's nest the second time.  I had insufficient metacognitive knowledge base on tasks such as symptom detection, which are derived through metacognitive experiences.
  • Metacognitive experiences can activate cognitive or metacognitive goals.  The purpose of cognitive strategies are to make cognitive process and that for the metacognitive strategies is to monitor the progress.
  1. Cognitive goals and strategies: I sense my defects arising, it activates the retrieval of appropriate intervening strategies... such as airplane flying by... flight 1549.  The workarounds are the cognitive strategies aim at stopping the buildup of my delusional system.
  2. Metacognitive goals and strategies: Now I applied the cognitive strategy to intervene, the metacognitive goal I have is to assess the level of impact the intervention has, how well the cognitive strategy works, how I can improve upon the intervention, what else can be done (thereby generating another metacognitive experience)
However, the effects might not be as clear-cut.  For instance, the monitoring of the effects of my cognitive goal might also result in the improvement.

At the same time, as per Flavell, the store of metacognitive knowledge might contain both cognitive and metacognitive knowledge.  

Developmental and educational implications

A differentiation process, Children's development in the notion of understanding--the universal
  1. Understanding or not understanding
  2. The level of understanding
  3. The difficulties involved in making accurate assessments and associating factors (e.g., intense affect, mental or physical illness.)
Questions posed by Flavell:
How much good does cognitive monitoring actually do us in various types of cognitive enterprise?
Some good... in the psychotic cognitive enterprise...
Might it not even do more harm than good, especially if used in excessive or nonselectively?
Excellent question, that's why the identification of tactics to use our head in more selective fashion so that we don't overheat it.
Think of the feckless obsessive, paralyzed by incessant critical evaluation of his own judgments and decision?
Interesting notions here... In reality, delusionals are by default floating in a sea of critical evaluations on their judgments and decision.  This is why, since we are already doing it in our everyday life, might as well do it in a way--away from harm's way.  
Flavell's personal opinion: Training on metacognition is possible.  For instance, Brown, Campione and Barcly  trained children with learning challenges to use self-testing strategies on certain tasks.  A year later, when these kids were tested on the same tasks again, not only were they able to applied the strategies they were taught, some even modified the strategies to make them more effective.

"In many real-life situation, the monitoring problem is not to determine how well you understand what a message means but to determine how much you ought to believe it or do what it says to do."

Absolutely the real life statements for psychotics... shall I believe in my delusions or shall I do what my hallucinations tell me to do?  Shall I cut myself to save some blood because they were going to swap the sample (my second full-blown episode)?  For psychotics, we need to learn as per the words of Flavell "how much you ought to believe it or do what it says to do"--what you see, what you hear, and what you think.  When defects are detected, your search for the most pertinent cognitive strategies to intervene, and further assess how well your intervention achieved the cognitive goal of stopping the build up of the delusional system.

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