While cognitive diversity has become an important subject of research, metacognitive diversity is still poorly understood. Metacognition refers to the set of conscious or unconscious processes with which agents contextually control their first-order cognitive activity (such as perceiving, remembering, learning, or problem solving) by assessing its feasibility or likelihood of success. Metacognitive skills are involved in many daily activities, such as conversing, reading, planning, and forming collaborations. Some of these skills are evenly distributed across cultures, e.g., distinguishing familiar from new environments, informative from repetitive messages, difficult from easy cognitive tasks. Others, however, seem to be socially constructed, or differentially shaped by social norms, linguistic and conversational usage, educational methods, religious practices, and self-related attitudes. Sensitivity to truth, epistemic authority, social consensus, evidentiality, uncertainty, and thought coherence seems to vary significantly across languages and cultures. Social norms, models of mind, and stereotypical attitudes about the self might also deeply influence how epistemic self-evaluation is conducted, and how it affects behaviour.
The aim of this conference is to study these and similar questions with interdisciplinary methods: cross-cultural evidence from linguistics, developmental, experimental, and social psychology, and anthropology, will be discussed with the goal of examining metacognitive diversity and its cultural, social, institutional, or psychological sources.
Site web: Divided Metacognition
10:00-10:20 | Martin Fortier (IJN, EHESS), “Opening message”
Joëlle Proust (IJN), “Metacognition and epistemology: A cross-cultural challenge”
“Introducing metacognition and noetic feelings”
10:20-11:20 | Norbert Schwarz (Univ. of Southern California): “Intuitive judgments of truth: Implications for correcting misinformation”
11:20-12:20 | Rakefet Ackerman (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology): “Metacognitive regulation of mental effort”
12:20-14:30 | Lunch
14:30-15:30 | Rolf Reber (Univ. of Oslo): “The role of metacognitive experiences in critical feeling”
“Interplay between folk-models of the mind and metacognition”
15:30-16:30 | Tanya Luhrmann (Stanford Univ.): “Invisible others: How metacognitive practices make real the unseen”
16:30-17:00 | Coffee break
17:00-18:00 | Bradd Shore (Emory Univ.): “‘Looking after the between’: Social relations and meta-cognition in Samoan psychology”
18:00-19:00 | Eve Danziger (Univ. of Virginia): “Cultural diversity in metacommunication and metacognition: The view from Mopan Maya”
Thursday, 25th September
“Metacognition in communication”
10:00-11:00 | Olivier Le Guen (CIESAS, México): “Managing epistemicity in everyday Mayan interactions”
11:00-12:00 | Anna Papafragou (Univ. of Delaware): “Information sources in language and thought”
12:00-14:00 | Lunch
“Metacognitive diversity, self and learning”
14:00-15:00 | Shinobu Kitayama (Univ. of Michigan): “Culture, self, and meta-cognition: Social eyes priming modulates error processing”
15:00-16:00 | Michael Morris (Columbia Univ.), “Cultural sponges: Cultural metacognition fosters implicit and explicit cultural learning”
16:00-16:30 | Coffee break
16:30-17:30 | Ulrich Kühnen (Jacobs Univ. Bremen), “Cultural diversity in metacognitive beliefs about learning”
17:30-18:30 | Daphna Oyserman (Univ. of Southern California), “Inferences from task difficulty: Metacognition and identity based motivation”
Friday, 26th September
“Epistemic motivations and norms across cultures”
10:00-11:00 | Stephen Stich (Rutgers Univ.): “Gettier across cultures”
11:00-12:00 | Richard Sorrentino (Univ. of Western Ontario): “Uncertainty orientation: Individual differences in motivation, cognition and emotion within and across cultures”
12:00-14:00 | Lunch
“How does metacognition develop: cross-cultural studies”
14:00-15:00 | Cristine Legare (Univ. of Texas): “The coexistence of natural and supernatural explanations across cultures and development”
15:00-16:00 | Paul Harris (Harvard Univ.): “‘I don’t know’: Children’s talk about knowledge and ignorance”
16:00-16:30 | Coffee break
16:30-17:30 | Stephanie Carlson (Univ. of Minnesota): “A developmental lens on cultural cognition”
17:30-18:30 | Athanasios Chasiotis (Tilburg Univ.): “Cross-cultural and longitudinal studies on executive functioning and theory of mind. Conflict inhibition predicts first-order theory of mind within and across cultures”
(by alphabetical name order)
Rakefet ACKERMAN (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa)
“Metacognitive regulation of mental effort”
Performing a mental task, such as learning or solving a problem, entails a challenge beyond performance of the task itself – namely, to effectively regulate the investment of mental effort needed to achieve the desired goal. According to the metacognitive approach, people performing such a task continually monitor their progress, and this subjective assessment is the basis for regulatory decisions such as what strategy to choose, whether to invest additional effort, and whether to seek help. Crucially, the effectiveness of effort regulation depends on the reliability of this ongoing monitoring process: Unreliable monitoring will mislead the resulting regulatory decisions. In this talk, I will discuss the underlying processes involved in effort regulation: Is effort investment an intentional regulatory process directed toward achieving a goal, or do people first invest effort spontaneously and then infer their chance of success? I will present empirical findings suggesting that both processes take place, but the delicate balance between them is task-dependent and develops only in late childhood. Understanding the processes that underlie this delicate balance might be enhanced through a cross-cultural approach. More broadly, understanding cross-cultural differences in metacognitive regulation of mental effort is expected to expose general factors that promote reliable knowledge assessment and effective effort regulation.
Stephanie CARLSON (Univ. of Minnesota)
“A developmental lens on cultural cognition”
Research on the cognitive styles of East Asians and North Americans has shown that East Asians tend to have a more holistic cognitive style whereas North Americans tend to have a more analytic cognitive style (Masuda & Nisbett, 2001). East Asians tend to hold a more context-sensitive orientation, which includes incorporating information from the background of an image when judging emotional faces (Kuwabara, Son & Smith, 2011; Masuda, Ellsworth, Mesquita, Leu, Tanida & Van de Veerdonk, 2008), remembering an object more accurately when viewing it with its background (Chua, Boland & Nisbett, 2005), and detecting changes in the background of an image more quickly (Simon & Levin, 1997). In contrast, North Americans tend to perceive objects as being distinct from their backgrounds, look for longer durations in the foreground of a picture, and are less apt to notice changes in the background of a scene. Although it is generally believed that such culturally divergent attention tendencies develop through socialization practices (e.g., children learn that it is socially valued to take context into account in East Asian cultures), existing evidence largely depends on adult samples. Moreover, no past research has investigated the relation between context-sensitivity and cognitive control. My colleagues and I investigated children in the United States and Japan (N = 175, age 4-9 years) to examine the developmental pattern in context-sensitivity and its relation to executive function (Imada, Carlson, & Itakura, 2012). The study found that context-sensitivity increased with age across cultures. Nevertheless, Japanese children showed significantly greater context-sensitivity than American children even at the youngest age of 4 years on some measures. We also found that context-sensitivity fully mediated the cultural difference (favoring Japanese children) in a set-shifting executive function task, which might help explain past findings that East-Asian children outperformed their American counterparts on executive function. In a follow-up study, we are investigating the lower age limits of this phenomenon in 15-month-old infants using an eye-tracking paradigm. Preliminary results suggest that American infants may have already begun socialization in a context-independent manner, consistent with later expected developmental trends toward the analytic, as opposed to holistic, cognitive style.
Athanasios CHASIOTIS (Tilburg Univ.)
“Cross-cultural and longitudinal studies on executive functioning and theory of mind. Conflict inhibition predicts first-order theory of mind within and across cultures”*
* In collaboration with: Domingo Campos (San José, Costa Rica), Jan Hofer (Trier, Germany), Florian Kiessling (Oxford, GB), and Vera Winter (Nurenberg, Germany).
We investigated the relationship of theory of mind and inhibitory control in three samples from Europe, Africa, and Latin-America differing in relevant socioeconomic and psychological background and in a longitudinal, experimental design controlling for age, gender, SES, maternal education, linguistic abilities, and intelligence. The relationship between false belief understanding and inhibitory control was tested using samples of three to five year old preschoolers from Germany, Costa Rica and Cameroon. In the longitudinal design, we compared the development of typically developing three to five year old preschoolers with children with sensory processing disorder (SPD) at two time points within six months during the focal period for the development of first-order theory of mind. Inhibitory control and theory of mind were examined using test batteries. Results of regression analyses controlling for moderating effects of culture show a culture-independent relation between conflict inhibition and false belief understanding across cultures. In the longitudinal study, regression analyses and cross-lagged panel analyses revealed that conflict inhibition at first measurement is a significant predictor of false belief understanding six months later in the clinical sample, but not in the control group, corroborating our previous cross-sectional findings that conflict inhibition is a prerequisite for the development of first-order theory of mind across cultures. Conflict inhibition is discussed as a universal developmental prerequisite for the development of theory of mind in the preschool years.
Eve DANZIGER (Univ. of Virginia)
“Cultural diversity in metacommunication and metacognition: The view from Mopan Maya”
In the conduct of conversation, individual metacognition and interpersonal ‘Theory of Mind’ are intertwined, since speakers must evaluate their conversational contributions for informational or other forms of adequacy with respect to the needs of their particular interlocutors (Proust 2013, Schegloff 1972). But anthropologists report that across societies, different cultural attitudes exist as to the acceptability of speculating on what is taking place in another person’s mind. In the ethnography of Native America for example (Basso 1984, Guss 1989, Reichard 1944, Witherspoon 1977), and in the Maya area in particular (Danziger 2006, 2010, Gaskins 2006, Kockelman 2010, Shoaps 2009), it is frequently observed that assessment of another person’s individual intention is not prioritized as part of the interpretation of his or her acts and utterances. Instead, speech and action are evaluated with reference to a supra-human moral order, in which what counts is fidelity to cosmic prescriptions for action, rather than to what are considered momentary and error-prone individual mental states. The Native American ethnography differs from longstanding Pacific observations in a similar vein (Rosaldo 1982, Duranti 1993, Robbins and Rumsey 2008), since in Native America the claim that others’ minds are unknowable is not centrally made. A variety of belief-systems with respect to metacognition and metacommunication thus exists around the world.
These culturally particular belief-systems readily find behavioural reflexes in such macro-social domains as legal proceedings (Rosen 1995), or the acceptably institutionalized forms of verbal art (Bakhtin 1981 , Danziger 2011). But could such culturally-specific ideologies also play a role in guiding micro-interactional activities, where processes are more real-time and unreflective (Danziger 2006, Duranti 2010, Rumsey 2013)? The present paper compares data from Mopan Mayan and from U.S. English speakers engaged in a blind picture-matching communicative task. While many aspects of conversational interaction are similar across the two populations, beliefs about mutual-knowledge-calculation indeed appear to have some correlates in the conduct of these events. The consequences for scholarly reflections about what is ‘natural’ with respect to metacognition in human interaction are considerable. If some aspects of non-reflective interactional behaviour are penetrated by cultural ideologies, then different thresholds of vulnerability to cultural modification may be a key to discovering and mapping distinct layers of procedural metacognition. Conversely, if there are levels of interactional processing which are impervious to cultural input from Mopan ideologies, then presumably they are equally impervious to such input from U.S. or European philosophies. In short, if the Mopan speakers are doing more mutual-knowledge-calculation than they think they are, then the U.S. speakers (and the language specialists who share their cultural philosophies), may be doing much less. The culturally informed component in metacognition and metacommunication must become a central feature in our thinking about these faculties.
-Bakhtin, Mikhail M. 1981  Discourse in the Novel. In The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays.
-Michael Holquist (ed.), Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (tr.). Austin: University of Texas Press.
-Basso, Keith 1984. Stalking with Stories: Names, Places and Moral Narratives among the Western Apache. In Text Play and Story: The Construction and Reconstruction of Self and Society. Stuart Plattner and Edward M. Bruner (eds.), pp. 19-55. Washington DC: American Ethnological Society.
-Danziger, Eve 2011. Once More with Feeling: A Forbidden Performance of the Great Speech of the Mopan Maya. Anthropological Quarterly 84(1): 121- 40.
-Danziger, Eve 2010. On Trying and Lying: Cultural Configurations of the Gricean Maxim of Quality. Intercultural Pragmatics 7(2):199-219.
-Danziger, Eve 2006. The Thought that Counts: Understanding Variation in Cultural Theories of Interaction. The Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Human Interaction. Steven Levinson and Nicholas Enfield (eds.), pp. 259-278. New York, NY: Berg Press.
-Duranti, Alessandro 2010. Husserl, Intersubjectivity and Anthropology. Anthropological Theory 10(1): 1-20.
-Duranti, Alessandro 1993. Intentions, self and responsibility: An essay in Samoan ethnopragmatics. In Responsibility and Evidence in Oral Discourse, edited by J. Hill and J. Irvine, 24-47. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
-Gaskins, Suzanne 2006. Cultural Perspectives on Infant-Caregiver Interaction. In The Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Human Interaction. S. Levinson and N. Enfield (eds) Berg Press, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. pp. 279-298
-Guss, David M. 1989. To Weave and Sing: Art, Symbol and Narrative in the South American Rain Forest. Los Angeles: UCLA Press.
-Kockelman, Paul 2010. Language, Culture and Mind: Natural Constructions and Social Kinds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
-Proust, Joelle 2013. The Philosophy of Metacognition: Mental Agency and Self-Awareness. Oxford: University Press.
-Reichard, Gladys 1944. Prayer: the Compulsive Word. New York: J.J. Augustin.
-Robbins, Joel and Alan Rumsey 2008. Introduction: Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology and the Opacity of Other Minds. Anthropological Quarterly 81(2): 407-420.
-Rosaldo, Michelle Z. 1982 The things we do with words: Ilongot speech acts and speech act theory in philosophy. Language in Society 11: 203-237.
-Rosen, Laurence 1995. Other Intentions: Cultural Contexts and the Attribution of Inner States. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.
-Rumsey, Alan 2013. Intentionality and the 'opacity of other minds': Perspectives from Highland New Guinea and beyond. In Intersubjectivity Across Languages and Cultures, Eve Danziger and Alan Rumsey (eds.), Language and Communication 33(3).
-Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1972. Notes on a Conversational Practice: Formulating Place. In Studies in Social Interaction. D. N. Sudnow (ed.) pp. 75-119. New York: MacMillan, The Free Press.
-Shoaps, Robin 2009. Moral Irony and Moral Personhood in Sakapultek Discoures and Culture. In Stance: Sociolinguistic Approaches. Alexandra Jaffe (ed), pp. 92-118. NewYork: Oxford University Press.
-Witherspoon, Gary 1977. Language and Art in the Navajo Universe. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Paul HARRIS (Harvard Univ.)
“‘I don’t know’: Children’s talk about knowledge and ignorance”
Analyses of children’s spontaneous utterances have concluded that children do not generally produce cognitive verbs such as know and think in a genuinely mentalistic fashion until the fourth year of life (Bartsch & Wellman, 1995). This relatively slow developmental timetable is consistent with the well-established improvement in the course of the fourth year in children’s performance on standard, verbal, false belief tasks (Wellman, Cross & Watson, 2001). However, I argue that existing analyses of children’s spontaneous utterances have ignored interesting features of children’s production of know even in the third year. This cognitive verb is used by children to query whether, or to affirm or deny that, their interlocutor has access to a piece of information that is part of the ongoing conversation. Similarly, children affirm or deny that they themselves have access to such information. Children rarely comment on the knowledge of a 3rd party. It is plausible that these conversationally anchored uses of know provide an important conceptual bridge between the embryonic grasp of knowledge states that is displayed by toddlers in the second year of life – as indexed by non-verbal measures – and the understanding that is eventually indexed by standard verbal false belief tasks in the fourth year.
Shinobu KITAYAMA (Univ. of Michigan)
“Culture, self, and meta-cognition: Social eyes priming modulates error processing”
Meta-cognition, the capacity to monitor and evaluate one’s cognitive performance, is a ubiquitous feature of human cognition. One crucial neural mechanism that constitutes this capacity is the processing of errors in cognitive performance. While cognitive neuroscience research revealed a great deal about error processing over the last decade, little is currently known about how this mechanism may be modulated by social and cultural factors. To address this knowledge gap, we have tested how culture and the presence of social eyes (i.e., perceived gazes of others) may interact to determine electro-cortical markers of error processing (both error-related negativity [ERN] and feedback-related negativity [FRN]). Specifically, we have hypothesized that Asians are relatively interdependent and thus they regard reflected appraisals of the self (appraisals from the perspectives of others) as more self-defining and, as a result, they will show an enhanced error processing in the presence of social eyes. In contrast, European Americans are relatively independent and thus they regard direct appraisals of the self (appraisals from the first-person perspective) as more self-defining and, as a result, they will show a reduced error processing in the presence of social eyes. The results have confirmed these predictions, revealing that the neural markers of error processing are modulated systematically as a function of both culture and social eyes priming. Implications for culture, self, and the brain will be discussed.
Ulrich KÜHNEN (Jacobs Univ. Bremen)
“Cultural diversity in metacognitive beliefs about learning”
Does the meaning of learning vary across cultures? Building on the qualitatively derived themes of mind and virtue orientations by Li (2003, 2005), I will argue that the Western philosophical tradition has led to a ‘mind orientation’ in learning, whereas learning beliefs in East-Asia can be characterized as ‘virtue oriented’. Within the Western mind orientation learning is primarily considered to be a cognitive endeavor and concerned with developing ones knowledge and skills. In the virtue orientation, the moral dimension is just as much associated with learning as the cognitive one, thus focusing on the development of the person as a whole. These two orientations are proposed to represent cultural mandates of learning in the respective cultures and are suggested to influence a variety of meta-cognitive beliefs about learning that can be clustered into four domains: the purpose of learning, the processes, affect and motivation and social perceptions of learners and teachers. I will review the empirical findings on these two meta-cognitive sets of learning beliefs from various cultures (mainly Western Europe, Eastern Europe and East Asia) using various measurements (including abstract attitude-like surveys as well as behavioral predictions for concrete scenarios). This review will show substantial cultural differences in learning beliefs which are even more pronounced when behavioral predictions for concrete in-class situations are assessed. Both theoretical as well as practical implications (in particular for multi-cultural learning environments) will be discussed.
Olivier LE GUEN (CIESAS, México)
“Managing epistemicity in everyday Mayan interactions”
Recent studies tend to show that human cognition evolved based on social principles (Tomasello, 2008) and everyday cognition is primarily socially motivated (Enfield & Levinson, 2006). Conversational analysis have long shown that even informal conversations are constructed on basic organizational universal principles (e.g. turn taking, repair, etc.) (Enfield & al., 2010; Sacks et al., 1974; Stivers et al., 2009). However, it remains that some ways of speaking are nonetheless locally determined according to cultural maxims (Ochs Keenan, 1976). This talk examines how Yucatec Mayas (Mexico) manage epistemicity in their everyday speech, that is, how information is distilled and evaluated very carefully according to conversational contexts as well as whom the interlocutor is (or could be).
I will follow Proust (2008)’s proposal on conversational metacognition that considers embodied communication as a crucial way, not only to convey information, but also to evaluate and predict the accuracy of the information transmitted.
My presentation will be twofold. First, based on an experimental task and more than 10 years of participant ethnography, I will show how Yucatec Mayan consider that sharing information is ultimately a socially dangerous act and that retaining information (or even lying) in ambiguous context is preferred. The second half of the talk will examine the use of epistemic markers, as well as several embodied aspects of conversational metacognition, especially interactional gestures and emotion display.
-Enfield, N. J., Stivers, T., & Levinson, S. C. (2010). Question–response sequences in conversation across ten languages: An introduction. Journal of Pragmatics, 42(10), 2615–2619. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2010.04.001
-Enfield, Nick J., & Levinson, S. C. (2006). Roots of Human Sociality. Culture, Cognition and Interaction. New York: Berg Publishers.
-Ochs Keenan, E. (1976). The universality of conversational postulates. Language and Society, (5), 67–80.
-Proust, J. (2008). Metacognition in conversation. In I. Wachmuth & G. Knoblich (Eds.), Embodied communication (pp. 329–356). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
-Sacks, H., Schegloff, E. A., & Jefferson, G. (1974). A Simplest Systematics for the Organization of Turn-Taking for Conversation. Language, 50(4), 696–735.
-Stivers, T., Enfield, N. J., Brown, P., Englert, C., Hayashic, M., Heinemannd, T., Levinson, S. C. (2009). Universals and cultural variation in turn-taking in conversation. PNAS, 106(26), 10587–10592.
-Tomasello, M. (2008). Origins of Human Communication. Boston: MIT Press.
Cristine LEGARE (Univ. of Texas)
“The coexistence of natural and supernatural explanations across cultures and development”
In both lay and scientific writing, natural explanations (potentially knowable and empirically verifiable phenomena of the physical world) and supernatural explanations (phenomena that violate or operate outside of, or distinct from, the natural world) are often conceptualized in contradictory or incompatible terms. My research has demonstrated that this common assumption is psychologically inaccurate. I propose instead that the same individuals frequently use both natural and supernatural explanations to interpret the very same events. To support this hypothesis, my colleagues and I reviewed converging developmental data on the coexistence of natural and supernatural explanations from diverse cultural contexts in three areas of biological thought: the origin of species, the acquisition of illnesses, and the causes of death (Legare, Evans, Rosengren, & Harris, 2012; Legare & Visala, 2011; Legare & Gelman, 2008). We identified multiple predictable and universal ways in which both kinds of explanations coexist in individual minds at proximate and ultimate levels of analysis. For example, synthetic thinking (i.e., combining two kinds of explanations without integration), integrative thinking (i.e., integrating two kinds of explanations by distinguishing proximate and ultimate causes), and target-dependent thinking (i.e., two kinds of explanations remain distinct and are used to explain different aspects of an event, depending on contextual information) all illustrate different kinds of explanatory coexistence. We also discovered that supernatural explanations often increase, rather than decrease, with age. Reasoning about supernatural phenomena, in short, seems to be an integral and enduring aspect of human cognition, not a transient or ephemeral element of childhood cognition.
Tanya LUHRMANN (Stanford Univ.)
“Invisible others: How metacognitive practices make real the unseen”
For a while now my work has settled on the way that people monitor and attend to their cognitive and affective experiences. The first part of my talk will describe my ethnographic work with evangelical Christians who seek a personal, intimate relationship with God—one in which God will talk back. My work suggests that these Christians use prayer practice to monitor their mental experience and that they selectively attend to some mental events and not others by following rules to discern God’s voice (they look for mental events which are spontaneous/loud; which are the kind of thing a loving God would say; which give them peace; and which they then test against actual events). They practice this attention by deliberately pretending to interact with God, although they treat the pretense as not quite fiction. They also participate in a series of emotional practices (like having church members stand in for God in prayer, or treating God as a therapist) which in effect provide real-world experiences of love and care. I used experimental and psychological work to show that these prayer practices changed people in specific ways—their mental imagery became sharper, they reported more unusual sensory events, and their sense of God as loving became stronger.
It was clear to me in doing that work that a specific set of ideas about the mind—what I’ll call local theory of mind—was at play in the way that these Americans learned to attend to their mind. I am now comparing the way new charismatic evangelical Christians in Accra and Chennai describe the back-and-forth conversation with God (what you could call the imaginal dialogue) and the way people with schizophrenia in Accra, Chennai and the US describe the quality and content of their auditory hallucinations.
Michael MORRIS (Columbia Univ.)
“Cultural sponges: Cultural metacognition fosters implicit and explicit cultural learning”*
*In collaboration with: Krishna Savani.
The current studies simulated second-culture learning by presenting students with a series of everyday interpersonal influence situations sampled from students in another country. For each influence situation, participants chose how they would respond (accommodate or resist). We tracked how participants' choices aligned with the adaptive response to each situation, according to natives of the other country. We hypothesized that individuals higher in cultural metacognition—those with greater sensitivity to the accuracy of cultural assumptions—would be more adept at figuring out how best to act in the foreign situations. Study 1 tested whether individual differences in cultural metacognition helps people distinguish categories of situations that call for different responses. Study 2 tested whether cultural metacognition predicts how fast people learn to alter their patterns of decisions in foreign situations upon receiving feedback. Study 3 manipulated feedback delay to test whether cultural metacognition helps cultural learning through conscious, explicit learning or through implicit, associative learning. Study 4 found that cultural metacognition also enables the conscious articulation of norms that have been learned implicitly. Results suggest that cultural metacognition may be an important psychological dimension to select for and develop in organizations that face intercultural challenges.
Daphna OYSERMAN (Univ. of Southern California)
“Inferences from task difficulty: Metacognition and identity based motivation”
What do people infer from task difficulty? Does it suggest that the task is not for them or does it suggest that they should try harder? What determines which interpretation is chosen and what are the behavioral consequences? I review a program of research that highlights the role of the identity relevance of the task in this context. When success at a task is identity-congruent, the task seems important and worth the effort. When success at a task is identity-incongruent, the task seems essentially impossible for people like oneself and hence not worth the effort. Contextual cues influence which interpretation of experienced difficulty is accessible at the moment, which renders the interpretation of difficulty highly malleable. Because people differ in the likelihood of being in contexts that cue one or the other interpretation, contextual influences can result in apparently stable between-group differences. I present experiments from this ongoing line of research that highlight both the malleability of interpretation and the possibility that effects are in part culture-bound, in that some cultures may reinforce one interpretation over the other. Interpretation of difficulty affects students' possible selves and academic performance, as shown in experiments with college students and children in high poverty contexts. Correlations with related constructs are considered.
Anna PAPAFRAGOU (Univ. of Delaware) “Information sources in language and thought”
The ability to reason about the evidential bases of information is crucial for acquiring knowledge and updating beliefs on the basis of new or more reliable evidence. We know that the ability to reason about evidence develops slowly in children and monitoring the sources of one’s beliefs often leads to errors in adults. We also know that there is considerable cross-linguistic variation in encoding of information source. In this talk, I ask whether the grammaticalization of distinctions between different information sources in language might lead to earlier acquisition of source-monitoring abilities in children and to more accurate source-monitoring performance in adults. In a series of studies with diverse language populations, I show that the acquisition of evidential language does not act as a pace setter for evidential cognition. I further show that evidentiality in language is independent of source-monitoring performance in adults. Together, these studies reveal commonalities in reasoning about sources of information across members of different linguistic communities.
Rolf REBER (Univ. of Oslo)
“The role of metacognitive experiences in critical feeling”
Combining insights from the philosophy of education and empirical psychology, the talk introduces the concept of critical feeling, which is defined as the strategic use of feelings to optimize outcomes. After presenting proficiencies and strategies of critical feeling, fluency theory is applied to the Confucian idea that humans can shape appropriate behavior with the aim to act spontaneously and appropriately. Training, which includes repetition of cultural forms, is aimed at refining one’s taste, at having a feeling for what is true, and at instilling behavior that is morally good. Selective exposure to cultural forms increases processing fluency which is the subjective ease with which a mental operation is performed; increased fluency, in turn, results in positive affect and confidence that what we read or hear is true. Fluency theory thus explains how people come to like cultural forms despite not necessarily liking the training itself. Finally, fluency theory predicts that when people are certain that they were exposed to the appropriate cultural forms, they can gauge the success of their training by assessing the subjective ease, the pleasure, or the perceived rightness related to an experience or action.
Norbert SCHWARZ (Univ. of Southern California)
“Intuitive judgments of truth: Implications for correcting misinformation”
From politics to the market place and work place, people often hold beliefs that lack factual support. Worse, misinformation is notoriously difficult to correct and correction efforts may even backfire. In most cases, people rely on a subset of five criteria in evaluating truth: Is it compatible with other things I believe? Is it internally consistent? Does it tell a plausible story? Does it come from a credible source? Are there many supporting arguments? Do others think so as well? Each criterion can be evaluated by drawing on relevant details (an effortful analytic strategy) or by attending to the ease with which the content can be processed (a less effortful intuitive strategy). Throughout, high processing fluency results in an affirmative answer and facilitates acceptance of the statement as true, which results in robust illusions of truth. In contrast, most correction strategies assume that people process analytically; accordingly, correction attempts confront erroneous beliefs with facts, often in an argument-by-argument fashion. This works as long as the facts are highly accessible, that is, right after they were presented. However, it backfires after a delay because extensive thought at the correction phase further increases fluent processing when the misinformation is re-encountered at a later time, which favors acceptance under intuitive assessments of truth criteria. I present select experiments from this ongoing research program and discuss the theoretical and applied implications.
Bradd SHORE (Emory Univ.)
“‘Looking after the between’:Social relations and meta-cognition in Samoan psychology”
It is telling that when we normally think of metacognition we tend to focus on self-awareness and self-regulation. This bias is in part due to the fact that the domain of psychology is generally assumed to be the individual, and thus psychological functions are often considered to be intra-psychic phenomena. While social life is recognized as a central factor in social psychology, it is my impression that social psychology is generally accorded a somewhat marginal status within psychology. This bias is in some part due to the emphases of our own ethno-psychological models. Samoans, however, have elaborated an understanding of psychological process that sees social relationships as central aspects of basic psychological process and regulation. In this talk I lay out the basic premises of a Samoan ethno-psychology and discuss the importance of social relationships in Samoan understandings of metacognition and psychological regulation.
Richard SORRENTINO (Univ. of Western Ontario)
“Uncertainty orientation: Individual differences in motivation, cognition and emotion within and across cultures”
This talk will summarize some of our research on how people think, act and feel based on the way they deal with uncertainty and the cultural milieu in which they find themselves. Our research has shown that uncertainty-oriented people, or those who deal with uncertainty by confronting it and attaining clarity, are more likely to systematically process information, become actively motivated and show more active than passive affect in uncertain than certain situations. Certainty-oriented people, or those who deal with uncertainty by gravitating to familiar situations and try to maintain clarity, are more likely to systematically process information, become actively motivated and show more active than passive affect in situations of certainty rather than uncertainty. Interestingly our data show that in UO-centric cultures such as Canada, uncertainty-oriented people (UOs) are actively engaged. However, in CO-centric cultures such as Japan, it is the certainty-oriented people (COs) who are actively engaged. UOs and COs become passively engaged in cultures that do not match their method of resolving uncertainty. Support for these notions come from data on tests of complex arithmetic ability, course grades, and affective responses to everyday life events over a two week period. Other interesting results across cultures, such as differences in uncertainty avoidance, individualism, and unrealistic optimism are also presented. Finally, implications of our research for metacognitive diversity is discussed.
Stephen STICH (Rutgers Univ.)
“Gettier across cultures”*
*In collaboration with: Edouard Machery (University of Pittsburgh), Amita Chatterjee (Jadavpur University), Kaori Karasawa (University of Tokyo), Noel Struchiner (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro), David Rose (Rutgers University), Smita Sirker (Jadavpur University), Takaaki Hashimoto (University of Tokyo), Naoki Usui (Mie University).
For much of the history of Western philosophy, the dominant account of knowledge was that knowledge is justified true belief. But in a short paper published in 1963, Edmund Gettier challenged this account by offering a pair of hypothetical counter-examples. Most philosophers who read Gettier’s paper agreed that these cases posed a serious problem for the justified true belief (JTB) account of knowledge, and before long the philosophical literature was flooded with additional hypothetical cases in which, it was claimed, a protagonist had a justified true belief in a proposition but did know that proposition.
A new element was introduced into the discussion when Weinberg and colleagues (2001), used the fledgling methods of “experimental philosophy,” to explore whether judgments (or “intuitions”) about Gettier cases vary across demographic groups. They reported that, by and large, university student participants with Western cultural backgrounds shared the dominant philosophers’ intuition that the relevant beliefs of protagonists in Gettier cases are not cases of knowledge, but that a majority of participants with East Asian and South Asian cultural backgrounds did not share those intuitions. This led to a lively and ongoing debate about the implications of demographic variation in lay people’s intuitions about epistemological thought experiments.
Of course, this debate would be of little interest unless different demographic groups really do have different intuitive reactions to Gettier cases and other epistemological thought experiments. And, as we argue in the first section of the paper, research on this issue has been far from conclusive. An important limitation of all the studies we are aware of is that the experimental vignettes and the questions about them were presented in English and, with a single exception, all participants were resident in the United States or in Canada.
In this paper we report a study aimed at addressing one of the most basic questions in this area: Do people in different cultural and linguistic groups have “Gettier intuitions”? More specifically, we set out to investigate whether, in quite different cultural groups that speak quite different languages, there are cases of JTB that are not judged to be cases of knowledge. Our study was conducted in Bengali, English, Japanese and Portuguese, with participants in India, the USA, Japan and Brazil. Our data provides clear evidence that participants in each of these four cultures do exhibit Gettier intuitions. We argue that this is consistent with the hypothesis that
Gettier intuitions may be a reflection of an underlying innate and universal core folk epistemology. In the final section of the paper, we elaborate on the idea of a core folk epistemology and explore the implications it has, and does not have, for ongoing debates in epistemology.