The development of metacognitive ability in adolescence

Leonora G. Weil, Stephen M. Fleming, Iroise Dumontheil, Emma J. Kilford, Rimona S. Weil, Geraint Rees, Raymond J. Dolan, Sarah Jayne Blakemore*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


Introspection, or metacognition, is the capacity to reflect on our own thoughts and behaviours. Here, we investigated how one specific metacognitive ability (the relationship between task performance and confidence) develops in adolescence, a period of life associated with the emergence of self-concept and enhanced self-awareness. We employed a task that dissociates objective performance on a visual task from metacognitive ability in a group of 56 participants aged between 11 and 41. years. Metacognitive ability improved significantly with age during adolescence, was highest in late adolescence and plateaued going into adulthood. Our results suggest that awareness of one's own perceptual decisions shows a prolonged developmental trajectory during adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-271
Number of pages8
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by a Royal Society grant and a Leverhulme Trust grant to SJB, by the Wellcome Trust (GR, RJD, SMF) and by the Medical Research Council (RSW). SJB has a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.


  • Adolescence
  • Cognitive development
  • Introspection
  • Metacognition
  • Self-awareness


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