Book Chapter

Metacognition in Autism


Craig K & Grainger C (2020) Metacognition in Autism. In: Volkmar FR (ed.) Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. New York: Springer.

First paragraph: “Metacognition” can be thought of as “thinking about thinking.” More specifically, metacognition is characterized as one’s awareness of and ability to regulate one’s own mental states (Flavell 1979). John Flavell (1979), who originally termed the definition, established a taxonomy of metacognition, distinguishing between “metacognitive knowledge,” an individual’s beliefs and knowledge about cognitions (including declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge, and knowledge about strategy use), and “metacognitive skills,” an individual’s ability to assess and control their own cognitive processes. Since Flavell’s seminal work, researchers have reinterpreted and adjusted Flavell’s original definition. Currently, most researchers agree that metacognitive skills involve reflective processes that monitor and increase the efficiency of underlying cognitive processes in a number of ways. Take for example the various adaptive metacognitive processes involved in completing a study task. Metacognitive skills are required to form a representation of one’s existing learning and comprehension, evaluate the demands of the task and subsequently choose the appropriate strategy for task completion, monitor one’s progress towards the task goal (perhaps adjusting strategy use), and reflect on one’s decisions/performance during and after task completion (Flavell 1979; Lai 2011).

Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online10/03/2020
Place of publicationNew York