​Understanding and Extending Human Metacognitive Intelligence

  • TWCF Number:


  • Project Duration:

    January 31, 2017 - April 30, 2019

  • Core Funding Area:

    Big Questions

  • Priority:

    Diverse Intelligences

  • Region:

    North America

  • Amount Awarded:


Director: Professor Thomas Griffiths

Institution: The Regents of the University of California

One crucial aspect of the human mind is metacognitive intelligence: the ability to adapt our cognitive strategies to use available computational resources. This project combines mathematical tools developed in artificial intelligence literature with large-scale behavioral experiments to gain new insights into the nature of human metacognition and to help people discover effective cognitive strategies more quickly.

The project has three aims:

1. To conduct a large-scale online experiment that makes it possible to measure how people navigate the tradeoff between gathering information and acting—a basic component of metacognitive intelligence. This experiment will provide a new benchmark dataset for the study of human metacognition.
2. To formalize this tradeoff and identify its optimal solution using tools from the artificial intelligence literature. Doing so will provide a link between different approaches to studying intelligence, offer new insights into human metacognition, and result in a richer set of models of human cognitive flexibility.
3. To use the optimal solutions to design a training program that will help people find effective cognitive strategies more quickly, saving them time and effort and potentially supporting greater farsightedness in other tasks.


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