How Local and Global Metacognition Shape Mental Health
Biol Psychiatry. 2021 Oct 1;90(7):436-446. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2021.05.013. Epub 2021 May 24.
Metacognition is the ability to reflect on our own cognition and mental states. It is a critical aspect of human subjective experience and operates across many hierarchical levels of abstraction-encompassing local confidence in isolated decisions and global self-beliefs about our abilities and skills. Alterations in metacognition are considered foundational to neurologic and psychiatric disorders, but research has mostly focused on local metacognitive computations, missing out on the role of global aspects of metacognition. Here, we first review current behavioral and neural metrics of local metacognition that lay the foundation for this research. We then address the neurocognitive underpinnings of global metacognition uncovered by recent studies. Finally, we outline a theoretical framework in which higher hierarchical levels of metacognition may help identify the role of maladaptive metacognitive evaluation in mental health conditions, particularly when combined with transdiagnostic methods.