The metacognition, also known as Theory of mind, is a concept that was born in the psychology and in other sciences of cognition to refer to the ability of human beings to impute certain ideas or objectives to other subjects or even to entities.
The concept, although it is used quite frequently in various scientific fields, is not accepted by the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE).
Specialists assume that this ability is connatural (of birth). When a person has metacognition, they are able to understand and ponder the state of their own mind and that of others. Metacognition also involves the ability to anticipate behavior (own and others) from perceiving emotions and feelings.
Among the most recognized researchers of the theory of mind, appears the British-American psychologist and anthropologist Gregory bateson, who began to investigate these issues in animals. Bateson He noticed that the puppies of dogs were playing to fight and discovered that, by means of signals and indications, they warned if they were facing a simulated fight in the framework of a game or in front of an actual confrontation.
In humans, metacognition begins to get activated between three and four years of age. We speak of activation since it is a capacity that is found from the moment of birth, but that is put into operation through a certain stimulation that is appropriate in this regard. After the stage as an infant, the person constantly uses metacognition, even unconsciously.
When metacognition is not developed, different pathologies can arise. There are those who believe that autism it originates from a problem in the theory of mind. It should be noted that there are different evaluations to check how metacognition is implemented in the mind of an individual.
Theories about metacognition
Many specialists have defined this concept, among them Yael Abramovicz Rosenblatt who expressed that metacognition is the way in which people learn to reason and apply the thought to the way of acting and learning from the environment, for which constant reflection is used, in order to ensure a good execution of the wishes or thoughts; For Sergio Barrón it is the ability we have to transcend and re-use the acquired knowledge and for Daniel Ocaña, it is a macro-process that is characterized by a capacity for consciousness (controlled voluntarily) that allows managing all cognitive processes, from the simple to the complex.
However, it is believed that the first to speak about this concept was JH Flavell, a specialist in cognitive psychology, which expressed that it was about the way in which cognitive processes and the results that a person could reach through them were understood.
From the point of view of constructivism We can say that the brain is not considered as a mere receiver of information, but that it is built on the basis of experience and knowledge, and orders the information in the way it knows how to do it. In other words, learning is related exclusively to the person and their history, so the learning that they develop will be highly influenced by those experiences they have lived and by their way of understanding and interpreting knowledge.
Learn to learn
In the education we speak of metacognition to refer to the learning processes that are proposed through educational systems. Using the capacities of each student to learn and understand their environment, a learning curriculum is proposed that adapts to them, that takes advantage of them and collaborates with a more efficient education. It is based on the skills, competencies and the management of emotions that the student has to help him acquire knowledge in the best way in which he can apprehend it.
We can say to conclude that through metacognition we can understand and self-regulate our learning, planning the way in which we will learn and evaluating our actions in said situation of learning. Thus we could define metacognition with three concepts related to knowledge: awareness, control and nature.