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J Gen Psychol. 2005 Oct;132(4):446-461.

Individual Differences in Metacognitive Responsiveness: Cognitive and Personality Correlates.

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Department of Psychology, Georgia State University.


Individuals differ not only in the ability to make decisions, but also in the degree to which they respond adaptively to uncertainty about those decisions. We examined how optimally 124 participants used an uncertain response on near-threshold trials of a psychophysical task. All participants showed overconfidence, but women tended to be more adaptive than men in responsiveness to uncertainty. Participants who responded to uncertainty most optimally exhibited more cognitive failures, fewer attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder symptoms, greater need for closure, better attention scanning skills, but larger effects of Stroop-task incongruity compared with participants who were least optimal in responsiveness to uncertainty. These data suggest that response competition might provide a mechanism for the cognitive experience of uncertainty.

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