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Ability in various cognitive domains is often assessed by measuring task performance, such as the accuracy of a perceptual categorization. A similar analysis can be applied to metacognitive reports about a task to quantify the degree to which an individual is aware of his or her success or failure. Here, we review the psychological and neural underpinnings of metacognitive accuracy, drawing on research in memory and decision-making. These data show that metacognitive accuracy is dissociable from task performance and varies across individuals. Convergent evidence indicates that the function of the rostral and dorsal aspect of the lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) is important for the accuracy of retrospective judgements of performance. In contrast, prospective judgements of performance may depend upon medial PFC. We close with a discussion of how metacognitive processes relate to concepts of cognitive control, and propose a neural synthesis in which dorsolateral and anterior prefrontal cortical subregions interact with interoceptive cortices (cingulate and insula) to promote accurate judgements of performance.

Original publication




Journal article


Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci

Publication Date





1338 - 1349


Animals, Cognition, Decision Making, Humans, Memory, Neural Pathways, Prefrontal Cortex