The neural basis of metacognitive ability
Fleming SM., Dolan RJ.
© 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. All rights reserved. Ability in cognitive domains is usually assessed by measuring task performance, such as decision accuracy. A similar analysis can be applied to metacognitive reports about a task to quantify the degree to which an individual is aware of his or her success or failure. Here, we review the psychological and neural underpinnings of metacognitive accuracy, drawing primarily on research in memory and decision-making. These data show that metacognitive accuracy is dissociable from task performance and varies across individuals. Convergent evidence indicates that the function of rostral and dorsal aspects of lateral prefrontal cortex is important for the accuracy of retrospective judgements of performance. In contrast, prospective judgements of performance may depend upon medial prefrontal cortex. We close by considering how metacognitive processes relate to concepts of cognitive control, and propose a neural synthesis in which dorsolateral and anterior prefrontal cortical subregions interact with interoceptive cortices (cingulate and insula) to promote accurate judgements of performance.