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Department of Psychology

Metacognition Lab



One line of my research involves momentary metacognitive judgments. I am fascinated by research suggesting that learners often have little insight into how well they have performed on tasks. To understand why, my lab has investigated the sources of accuracy and bias in metacognitive judgments and of ways of enhancing metacognitive ability. For example, we examined whether accuracy motivation could reduce the magnitude of anchoring bias in metacognitive judgment of performance and thus enhance metacognitive accuracy.

Another line of my research involves enduring metacognitive beliefs. "Metacognition is not merely a matter of pristine intuitions about the introspective processes; it is part and parcel of the social world as well" (Jost, Kruglanski, & Nelson, 1998). Metacognitive beliefs such as beliefs about intelligence are shaped by social experiences and exert powerful influence on learners' motivation and behavior. I am interested in how metacognitive beliefs moderate the way learners interpret and respond to environmental stimuli or metacognitive feelings. For instance, we studied how learners are motivated or paralyzed in anticipation of rapid performance feedback, depending on their metacognitive beliefs about ability.

In all, my main goals of scholarship are to understand (a) why we have poor self-insights of competence and how to enhance metacognitive ability; and (b) how top-down processing such as metacognitive beliefs and expectations impact motivation, behavior, and performance. Currently, the Metacognition Lab (GRH 3053) is actively working on several projects. If you are interested in gaining research experience by working in the metacognition lab, please fill out this form (Lab Application Form) and send it to me via email (

Jost, J. T., Kruglanski, A. W., & Nelson, T. O. (1998). Social metacognition: An expansionist review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2, 137-154. doi: 10.1207/s15327957pspr0202_6

Dr. Qin Zhao
Director, Metacognition Lab

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 Last Modified 9/24/14