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2015 Keynote Address
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On Knowing that you Know - and its Functions

Keynote Speaker

Asher Koriat
University of Haifa

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I will report work on metacognition that was spurred by my early analysis of the creative process, which suggested to me that we generally operate at two levels of experience, searching at one level what we already know at a deeper, subconscious level. The question that I asked was how subconscious processes communicate themselves to consciousness and direct cognitive processes and behavior. I thought that a similar process, on a miniature scale, occurs in the tip-of-the tongue state, when we feel that we know a name or a word before it emerges into consciousness. Indeed, my research on metacognitive monitoring and control processes during learning, remembering and decision-making has yielded a great deal of information about the delicate but complex processes that shape intuitive feelings, and about the critical role played by these feelings in the self-regulation of learning and memory. The work clarifies why metacognitive feelings are generally accurate and trustworthy, but not inherently so, and sheds light on the processes that lead metacognitive feelings astray. The findings may have implications for some of the metatheoretical issues concerning consciousness and control, including the shaping of subjective experience, the function of subjective experience, and the cause-and-effect relationship between subjective experience and behavior.

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Asher Koriat’s research has covered a wide range of topics in cognitive psychology, including memory processes and organization, priming, reading and text-processing, and mental representations and their transformations. His main contributions, however, in collaboration with many others, have been in the area of metacognition. His research addressed the questions of how we monitor our own knowledge, and how the output of monitoring processes affects the metacognitive control of memory and performance. These questions were explored with regard to judgments-of-learning (JOLs) during study, feelings-of-knowing (FOK) during memory search, and subjective confidence following retrieval and decision. In each of these areas, he contributed novel theoretical analyses (the cue-utilization framework for JOLs, the accessibility model of FOK, and the Self-Consistency model of subjective confidence) as well as relevant empirical results. His research has examined the accuracy and inaccuracy of metacognitive judgments and how illusions of knowing can sometimes be mended. His earlier work on FOK judgments and his more recent work on confidence judgments has documented striking dissociations between subjective and objective indexes of knowing, thereby shedding light on the bases of these judgments  

With regard to self-regulation, a proposed distinction between two metaphors of memory led to a theoretical model and experimental work on the strategic regulation of memory performance, underscoring the critical role of monitoring and control processes in mediating the quantity and accuracy of the information reported. The model has been extended in many directions. In turn, the work on self-regulated learning has documented the intricate, bidirectional links between monitoring and control processes. The distinction between control-based-monitoring and monitoring-based-control has led to the distinction between data-driven and goal-driven self-regulation, with the two types of regulation shown to yield opposite relations between study effort and JOLs.

Altogether, the work on metacognition over the years has converged in providing some backing for Koriat’s “crossover” model of subjective experience, in which subjective feelings are seen to mediate between heuristically-driven unconscious processes, on the one hand, and conscious, controlled processes on the other.

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Previous Keynote Speakers

2014 - Larry Jacoby, Washington University in St. Louis (video)
2013 - Elizabeth F. Loftus, University of California, Irvine (video)
2012 - John R. Anderson, Carnegie Mellon University
2011 – Nora Newcombe, Temple University
2010 – Robert A. Bjork, University of California, Los Angeles
2009 – Henry L. Roediger, III, Washington University in St. Louis
2008 – Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University
2007 – Marcia K. Johnson, Yale University
2006 – Mary C. Potter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2005 – Michael Posner, University of Oregon
2004 – Anne Treisman, Princeton University
2003 – Gordon Bower, Stanford University
2002 – Roger Shepard, Stanford University
2001 – William K. Estes, Indiana University

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