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Thesis Gull ZAREEN


From 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2024

Spontaneous metacognitive experiences in development and aging

This doctoral research program will overlap the social sciences with the neurosciences. In short, the candidate will study metacognitive experiences, aimed at understanding the patterns of development and decline of metacognition with age. We will use methods of experimental psychology, including face-to-face and internet testing, and will aim to use neuropsychological and neurophysiological methods (electroencephalogram) in the last part of the thesis.
Metacognition is defined as the higher level processes that allow us to
control and monitor our cognitive function. Recently, research on metacognition has opened up new understandings of consciousness: focusing on how we are aware of our memory, or perception. In Grenoble, and at the LPNC, there is a concentration researchers working in this field, in particular applied to memory. In an experiment typical, we ask our participants to report their conscious assessment of their own performance and then we use these ratings as data. A simple example is ask people to make a decision, then ask them how well they are confident in their answer (on a percentage scale). These measures of certainty revealed a network in the prefrontal cortex that is responsible for metacognition: a part of the brain that monitors the processes involved. In general, human beings are capable of knowing their own capabilities: they perform better on decisions they are more confident about. But this metacognitive precision decreases with age (for some tasks but not all) and
develops relatively late.
Metacognition is not just these kinds of conscious judgments or evaluations. Those are also spontaneous feelings, like having “a word on the tip of the tongue”, or the phenomenon of already seen. This thesis will focus on the measurement and analysis of these experiences, which we qualify as spontaneous. How do these experiences change with age? When do they appear in the child development? Do they involve the same processes as metacognitive measures
existing ones, and can we integrate them into the existing theory? Our hypothesis is that when there has a problem or error in the human cognitive system, these experiences are generated to signal to awareness that there is a problem (a recovery failure in the word on the end of the language; or over-activation of familiarity in déjà vu). These are metacognitive sensations
automatic and 'mandatory'. The phenomenon of the word on the tip of the tongue has been frequently studied in the laboratory, but more as a linguistic failure rather than as a metacognitive experience. The thesis will begin with this
phenomenon, because it was found to be relatively easy to produce in the laboratory by asking questions of relatively difficult general knowledge, for example. The idea is to produce a panorama of these experiments using a mixed-method experimental psychology approach, which is in the direct continuity of Chris Moulin's project supported by the Institut Universitaire de France
“Memory and Subjectivity”. The candidate will acquire up-to-date skills and we will learn from them also a lot about those unusual and infrequent spontaneous metacognitive experiences that automatically come into our mind, but tell us something about the current state of cognitive system.

Supervisors :
- Christopher MOULIN - (christopher[dot]moulin[at]univ-grenoble-alpes[dot]fr)
- Céline SOUCHAY - (celine[dot]souchay[at]univ-grenoble-alpes[dot]fr)

Mots-clés de la thèse : spontaneous,developmental,metacognitive,



From 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2024


UGA - Campus France

Submitted on 17 November 2023

Updated on 17 November 2023