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! :-)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Brown, Ann. (1987). Metacognition, executive control, self-regulation, and other more mysterious mechanisms

This article is about the definition of metacognition... its blanket nature and fuzzy boundaries.  It and other papers in the book also addressed a question I have had since the beginning of the recent literature review process... or the difficulties I have in making linkage between Baddeley's Central Executive and the executive notion of Metacognition.  

An interesting question for myself... what it be like if I read this paper and papers alike at the beginning of the literature review phase?  The way I see it... (a hypothesis)... you can't pretend the outcome without going through the motion and you can't get the answer until you pose the question.  How true?  Donno.

Brown, Ann. (1987). Metacognition, executive control, self-regulation, and other more mysterious mechanisms. In F. E. Weinert & R. Kluwe (Eds.), Metacognition, motivation, and understanding (pp. 65-116). Hillsdale, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.

"Metacognition refers to understanding of knowledge, an understanding that can be reflected in either effective use or overt description of the knowledge in question." (P. 85)

"Metacognition refers loosely to one's knowledge and control of own cognitive system.  Two primary problems with the terms are: it is often difficult to distinguish between what is meta and what is cognitive; and there are many different historical roots from which this area of inquiry developed."

Some confusions

  • The interchangeability of cognitive and metacognitive functions such as in metacognition and reading
  1. Nice quote:  "According to Dewey, learning was 'learning to think' and reading was thinking stimulated by texts."
  • A second source of confusion concerning the wide spread use of the term metacognition is that, within the modern psychological literature, it has been used to refer to two distinct areas of research: knowledge about cognition and regulation of regulation.  
  1. "Knowledge about cognition refers to the stable, statable, often fallible, and often late developing information that human thinkers have about their own cognitive processes." (p. 67-68) (Donno about you, I am damn sure that native psychology of mine is more than often wrong.)
  2. "activities (predicting outcomes, scheduling strategies, and various forms of vicarious trial and error, etc). Prior to undertaking a problem, monitoring activities (monitoring, testing, revising, and re-scheduling one's strategies for learning) during learning; and checking outcomes (evaluating the outcome of any strategic actions against criteria of efficiency and effectiveness).  It has been assumed that these activities are relatively unstable, not necessarily statable, and relatively age independent (i.e., task and situation dependent)... Knowing how to do something does not necessarily mean that the activities can be brought to the level of conscious awareness and report on to others." (P. 68)  (I suspect that the majority of the psychotics perform symptom detection on a daily basis.  Ain't got no idea why I have to turn the 不可說 into words.  Sadomasochist, I guess.)

Roots of metacognition

In the following section, the author "four historically separate, but obviously interlinked, problems in psychology that pertain to issues of metacognition."

Verbal reports as cognitive processes

Spinoza:"... He who knows something knows at the same time that he knows it and he knows as well that he knows what he knows." (p. 70) (Wow... this can compete with "Are you sure you are sure you are sure?" lol)

Locke "till the understanding turns inwards upon itself, reflects on its own operations, and makes them the object of its own contemplation." (p. 70)

The issue on "the distinction between multiple and reflective access."

Rozin's accessibility theory
  1. Intelligence components can be strictly welded to constrained domains (i.e., skills available in one situation are not readily used in others, even though they are appropriate)... though not necessarily.
  2. Even if skills are widely applicable but not tightly welded, they need not be conscious statable. 
  1. Multiple access refers to the ability to use knowledge flexibily because it can be systemically varied to fit a wide range of conditions, knowledge is informationally plastic.
  2. Reflective access refers to the ability to "mention as well as use" the components of the system
Consensus within discrepancies: "the most stringent criteria of understanding involve the availability of knowledge to consciousness and reflection"... therefore, verbal reports as data is kosher.  

Problems associated with verbal report
  1. There is the obvious problem of asking children to reliably inform on the content of their own conscious processes.
  2. What one knows might not be what one does.  What is needed is a theory as to when one may expect to find a relationship between a subject's verbal reports and actions, and exactly what that relationship would be.
The context... 
  1. "verbal reports are often taken in situations where the knowledge being assessed may be transient, is elicited in the face of a particular task or context, or is elicited during the actual performance of a task." (p. 73)
  2. The problematic procedure to ask children to describe how they would behave in certain hypothetical situation. (p. 74)
The need to distinguish between
  • predictive verbalizations
  • concurrent verbalizations
  • retrospective verbalization
  • and specific and general information questions
Demand characteristics: Feeling compiled to be a good participants and reported to have done what the researchers asked them to do though knowing they didn't do it.

An excellent point... it's a very good question to ask, "How much is my documentation contaminated by the effects of demand characteristics albeit all due efforts to speak the truth as I see it?"  How discrepant are what's being said and what's being done since talk is cheap?  How do we catch it in ourselves?  

Reminding me of the observer effect at the quantum world... cool... (I am surely tangential... fun though... 8-O lol)

An adequate theory of the relation of verbal reports to actual performance must include some a priori predictions of when verbal reports influence performance and when they do not.  "Future research could concentrate on the specific circumstances which would result in a metacognitive-cognitive link.  Under what circumstances would one predict a positive or a negative relationship between verbal reports and performances?  (p. 75)

"The relation between "thinking aloud" and problem solving can sometimes be beneficial.  This is particularly true if the type of verbalization that is required is a statement of a rule or a reason for an action... The Gagne and smith finding (1962) findings are robust and suggest that forcing learners to make a rule explicit helps the learning process, as well as the transfer of the rule." (p. 76)

A good excuse for my incurable think-out-loud (aka talking to myself) real life practice... 8-O lol

"Verbal reports can often have a negative effect on the learning process.  This situation occurs when the requirement for overt verbalization competes for central processing capacity with the processes that must be reported....  Many current information processing models claim that with repeated practice many of the intermediate steps of both thought and action become automatized, and therefore, they are even less available to conscious introspection." (p. 76-77)

The symptoms... surely automatic... one of the reason why it's so difficult to look at the processing of the symptoms and so difficult to break it down.

Albeit inconsistencies in existing research, "greater transfer across problem isomorphs of an inferential reasoning task [was found] when, after each problem, three- and four-year-old learners were required to describe the solution to Kermitt the frog so that he could also perform the task... Questions cannot be adressed, or answered adequately, unless researchers are precise about the type of verbalization, the type of cognitive process, and the theoretical rationale for expecting a positive, negative, and neutral relation between verbalization and the cognitive process." P. 78"

Executive control within an information processing framework

"The second historical root of things metacognitive is the notion of executive control taken from the information processing models of cognition." (p. 79)

"Information-processing theories emerged in the mid-1960s along with the growing interest in computer competence and machine simulation of though.  The concurrent development of psychological models was greatly influenced by the theories and jargon of synthetic intelligence; during the past 15 years the computer metaphor has dominated theories of human cognition." (p. 79)

"The notion of executive control was in general vogue by the early 1970 (Greeno & Bjork, 1973) and was introduced into developmental psychology (Brown, 1974, 1975)." (p. 79-80)

I know a place where you can get away
It's called a dance floor, and here's what it's for so

Come on, Vogue, Vogue

Don't just stand there, let's get to it
Strike a pose,there's nothing to it 

"A two-process approach to thinking, automatic and controlled processing, predates information-processing models." (p. 80)

  1. Posner and Snyder's (1974) "conscious strategies" and "automatic activation
  2. Shiffrin's (1975) "controlled vs systemic processing"
  3. Norman and Bobrow's (1975) "resource limited and "datalimited processing
  4. Laberge's (1975) "automatic focusing
  5. Brown (1975) "deliberate and involuntary" 
  6. Hasher and Zack (1979) "effortful and automatic"
  7. Naus and Halasz (1978) "strategic versus automatic"
"For developmental psychologists, there are many interesting questions questions concerning automatization" (p. 81)

  • "a great deal of the development that occurs with increasing expertise (age) is the result of processes that were originally controlled, effortful, and laborious becoming automated."
  • "processes that do not demand strategic control are efficient, even in the young, and are less sensitive to developmental changes."
Executive power: the major problems are the traditional ones of consciousness and who has it.

Norman (1980): "Consciousness is a peculiar stepchild of our discipline, agreed to be important, but little explored in research and theory.  There are legitimate reasons for this relative neglect.  This is a most difficult topic, one for which it is very difficult to get the hard, sensible evidence that experimental disciplines require... We cannot understand (thinking) until we come to a better appreciation of the working of the mind, of the several simultaneous trains of thought that can occur, of the differences between conscious and subconscious processing, of what it means to focus upon one train of thought to the exclusion of others.  What-who- does the focussing?... And what does it mean to have conscious attention?  Can there be attention that is not conscious?  What-who-experiences the result of conscious attentional processes?" (p. 81)

What is "I"?  "The ghost in the machine, the homunculus" (p. 81)? What-who? Same issue that got Baddeley pretty troubled as well ...

"Central to the issues of metacognition are computer planning models that attempts to model problem-solving behavior."  The author went on to describe 3 models and how they worked.  (p. 83)
"with increasing sophistication, information processing, and artificial intelligence models have gained more power by paying increasing attention to the 'metacognitive' aspect of thinking." (p. 85)

  • preplanning and planning-in-action
  • planning and control
  • preaction and trouble shooting
  • planning and monitoring

"The central place of executive functions, such as planning and monitoring, is asserted in most current models of human and machine information processing, and there is a dearth of clear data, developmental or otherwise, that support this assertion." (p. 85-86)

"patients with frontal-lobe syndrome... experience extraordinary difficulty with error correction... described as simultaneously preservative and distractible, a failure in intelligent focusing attributed to damage to the supervisory attentional mechanism, or executive system." (p. 87)

Though different pathology, I see similarity... error detection and symptoms (e.g., hallucination, delusion) detection.  Preservative on "self-centric notion" and easily distractible from things I intend to focus on... especially when the mental state is worst off... regardless of the psychotic age... unless simply a constant process of regressing back to the early psychotic age?

Young children's difficulty to set up plans

The fledgling me just ain't got enough beef to set up the plans?  

  1. Learned?
  2. Brain structure including the component of encoded memory?
  3. The combination?

"In general, children have difficulty detecting inconsistencies in messages, unless those inconsistencies are particularly blatant or salient) (p. 88)

Symptom detection.

"The influence of task difficulty and familiarity must be considered in any examination of the child's propensity to plan and monitor his or her own activities." (p. 88)

Self-regulation, metaprocedural reorganization, and reflected abstraction from the Piagetian school of developmental psychology

"metacogntions... encompass regulatory functions, such as error detection and correction... The historical roots of these concepts can be found in most of the major developmental theories." (P. 89)

Piaget's theory of regulation

"for Piaget, self-regulation, error correction, trial-and-error, theory testing, etc., need not be conscious experiences, but may occur in the plane of action; however, the highest level of theory building and testing is conscious."

Conspiracy theory?  Now I know... it's my consciousness that screws my head up... 8-O lol

"Because consciousness is not directly linked to conceptualization, the child's 'reaction remain elementary, the subject is likely to distort conceptualization of what he observes, instead of recording it without modification."

Interesting notion to entertain... Reporting in DWM up to now... there seems to be some differences-- even when I was telepathic like how I was last year this time.  Though... back to the notion... "the subject is likely to distort conceptualization of what he observes."

Metaprocedural reorganization and systemization

Children's progress in theory development

  1. "There is a developmental lull, or even a seemingly retrogressive state, when errors predominate." Original theory-->discrepancy identification-->Multiple theory-->Test for a unified theory. (p. 93)
  2. Metaprocedural reorganization leads to a stepping-up in theory complexity when partially adequate, juxtaposed systems are well established. (Foundation.)  (p. 93)
  3. "Meta procedural reorganization is not solely the response to external pressure or failure, rather it occurs spontaneously when the child has developed well functioning procedures that are incomplete, but adequate for the task at hand... A similar U-shaped developmental pattern has been observed in children's language acquisition).

The acquisition of a non-native language as the analogy of learning to live with psychosis.  Interlanguage...

Also, creative simplification (Karmiloff-Smith and Inhelder, 1974-1975) as opposed to overgeneralization-- surely sounds much better!  lol

Levels of self-regulation

Conscious or unconscious...

  • Karmiloff-Smith (1979): "reference is being made to spontaneous metaprocedural behavior rather than to explicit awareness."
  • "Error detection and correction as an implicit process

As opposed to the notion of metalinguistic awareness--the capability to consciously reflecting on one's own language and that of the others.

"Confused in the metacognitive literature, even lost in some versions of the concept, is the essential distinction between self-regulation during learning and mental experimentation with one's own thoughts." (p. 97)

Surely sounds far better than I am simply an incurably dumb axx.  lol

Other-regulation, a Vygotskian notion

Vygotsky's (1971) theory of internalization and social learning.

Status of metacognition as a concept

Brown's notion on theory development:
"Sientific theorizing, like any other, must pass through stages.  Consider as an example, the novice block balancers described earlier.  Initially, they are merely goal oriented; they concentrate on getting the new theory to work.  The next stage is to develop and refine subsystems so that they work fluently.  Only when these subsystems are functioning efficiently can the theorist step back and consider the entire problem space and systematize or reorganize it into a cohesive whole.  The recent history of theory development in the realm of metacognition can be viewed in this light."

""Currently a great deal of systematic work is being undertaken, hopefully, it will lead to fluently functioning subsystems that at present are merely juxtaposed, existing, and developing side-by-side; however, this is an essential stage of theory building.  Later, perhaps, when the main subsystems are better understood, metaprocedural reorganization may be possible, and a full understanding of the domain metacognition will be attained.  This chapter is primarily a contribution to the "juxtaposed procedures" stage of development."

The blanket term of metacognition and the fuzzy boundaries... an important issue to tackle... what deserves the meta tag?

Metacognition and the mechanism of change and development.

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