Not exactly words you use every day, but we do apply cognition and metacognition every time we are asked a question.
Cognition is knowing something, like the answer in a test, while metacognition is knowing whether you know the answer or not. So which is more important? To know the answer or to know that you don’t?
Unless you’re taking a test or playing Jeopardy, metacognition is more important to success than cognition. In real life, when you’re faced with a question the first decision is whether you know the answer or not. With strong metacognitive ability this is easy. If you know the answer, but can’t come up with it, you can always do a bit of research. If you know for sure that you don’t know, then you can start educating yourself. Because you’re aware of your ignorance, you don’t act with foolish confidence. The person who thinks they know something that they really don’t makes the worst decisions.
This is something I find myself doing more and more. When faced with a question, I know I can just do a search on the web for relevant answers. I may know that I don’t know the answer to your question, but I will in a minute…
When you’re faced with a decision, do you act on what you think is the right thing to do, or do you make sure first?
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