​Understanding and extending human metacognitive intelligence

Professor Thomas Griffiths
The Regents of the University of California

Project Summary

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.

Project Details

Project Duration

31 January 201730 April 2019

Core Funding Area

Big Questions


Diverse Intelligences

Region of Activity

North America

TWCF Number


Amount Awarded



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