Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 186, Issue 3, pp 509–515 | Cite as

Neuropsychology of self-awareness in young adults

  • Doreen Hoerold
  • Paul M. Dockree
  • Fiadhnait M. O’Keeffe
  • Helen Bates
  • Maria Pertl
  • Ian H. Robertson
Research Note


Disorders of self-awareness are common following cortical damage, particularly to the frontal lobes, but there have been few studies of individual differences in self-awareness in the normal population. In the current study, we explored patterns of metacognitive awareness among healthy young adults, based on discrepancies of self- and other-ratings on the Frontal Systems Behavior Scale (FrSBe; Grace and Malloy, 2002). Those who showed poor metacognitive awareness showed more frequent lapses of attention, and higher levels of everyday absentmindedness, than those who accurately appraised their own behavior or those who overestimated their own FrSBe scores. Furthermore, among those with poor metacognitive awareness, online emergent awareness correlated positively with prospective memory performance, and negatively with anxiety scores. Our results suggest that accurate self-awareness in non-neurological participants relies on efficient sustained attention functioning, supporting the role of frontal control systems in neuroanatomical models of self-awareness.


Insight Self-awareness Sustained attention Frontal lobes Executive functions 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doreen Hoerold
    • 1
  • Paul M. Dockree
    • 1
  • Fiadhnait M. O’Keeffe
    • 1
  • Helen Bates
    • 1
  • Maria Pertl
    • 1
  • Ian H. Robertson
    • 1
  1. 1.Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience and School of PsychologyTrinity College DublinDublinIreland

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