Metacognitive Development in Early Childhood: New Questions about Old Assumptions

  • Kristen E. Lyons
  • Simona Ghetti


Age-related improvements in children’s ability to monitor and regulate their mental operations are widely recognized to be a driving force in cognitive development, underlying age-related improvements in accuracy on a wide variety of tasks. Thus, a major focus of metacognitive research is the development of these skills during childhood. This work has primarily focused on achievements in middle childhood, largely because prevailing views hold that young children have extremely limited abilities in this domain. However, there is good evidence to suggest that young children may be more metacognitively skilled than previously assumed. This chapter reviews previous research, as well as recent findings from naturalistic and experimental studies to argue that critical milestones in metacognition are achieved in early childhood, providing the foundation for learning in a host of domains and subsequent metacognitive development. Then we discuss theoretical issues to consider when formulating a comprehensive model of metacognitive development in early childhood.


Mental Imagery Knowledge State Metacognitive Skill Confidence Judgment Comprehension Monitoring 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology & Center for Mind and BrainUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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