Tirso, Robert Michael (2021-06). The Effects of Observability and Evaluativeness on Metacognitive Self- and Other-judgments. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Metacognition is defined as awareness and beliefs about one's own cognitive processes and abilities. Research on metacognition suggests that the accuracy of metacognitive self- and other-judgments is largely determined by two broad factors: the information available to judges and biases stemming from motivations and desires. The goal of this dissertation was to test whether the Self-Other Knowledge Asymmetry (SOKA) model can explain differences in the accuracy of self- and other-judgments of cognitive abilities. According to the SOKA model, the information available to judges (i.e., observability or how easily outside observers can see a trait) and motivational biases (i.e., evaluativeness or how important a trait is to the judge) together can be used to predict self- and informant-report accuracy, at least for judgments of personality. Working memory, prospective memory, creativity, and visuospatial ability were identified as cognitive abilities that are relatively high or low in their evaluativeness and observability by examining participants' average ratings of importance (Study 1A) and interrater reliability, a measure of observability (Study 1B). The accuracy of participants' and informants' judgments of these abilities was investigated using a multilevel modeling approach. Results were somewhat mixed--observability did not reliably moderate informants' metacognitive judgment accuracy contrary to the model, however evaluativeness did moderate participants' metacognitive judgment accuracy, which is consistent with the SOKA model (Study 2). Attempts to manipulate evaluativeness by extolling the importance (or lack thereof) of creativity had no effect on participants' and informants' metacognitive judgments or their accuracy (Study 3). A novel observability manipulation proved successful at increasing the observability of creativity (Study 4), and will be used in future research to determine if there might be a causal relationship between observability and metacognitive judgment accuracy. Overall, results suggest that evaluativeness does affect metacognitive self-judgment accuracy in a manner consistent with the SOKA model, but additional research is needed to determine if this is a causal relationship and to determine the extent to which observability moderates metacognitive other-judgment accuracy.

publication date

  • June 2021