Metacognition of Agency  

We are currently studying people's metacognitions of agency; that is, their judgments about the degree to which they are the cause of events around them. We are investigating this primarily using a game-like paradigm in which participants move a cursor to try to "catch" stimuli as they are falling down the screen. The degree to which the movement of the cursor on the screen corresponds to participants' mouse movements is manipulated in a variety of ways. We then analyze how these manipulations influence the judgments of agency that participants make at the end of each game trial.

While we began this line of research with normals, we have expanded it to include samples of children, older adults, schizophrenia patients, Asperger patients, and methamphetamine users. In addition, we recently completed a functional brain imaging study that involved having participants complete our agency paradigm in an MRI scanner.


  1. Kelly, K. J., & Metcalfe, J. (2011). Metacognition of Emotional Face Recognition. Emotion.
  2. Cosentino, S., Metcalfe, J., Steffener, J., Holmes, B., & Stern, Y. (2011). Finding the self in metacognitive evaluations: A study of metamemory and agency in non-demented elders. Neuropsychology.
  3. Metcalfe, J., Eich, T. S., & Castel, A. (2010). Metacognition of agency across the lifespan. Cognition, 116, 267-282.
  4. Metcalfe, J., Van Snellenberg, J. X., Malapani, C., DeRosse, P., Balsam, P., & Malhotra, A. (2009). Disturbance of metacognition of agency in patients with schizophrenia. Presented at the 9th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry, Paris, France.
  5. Kirkpatrick, M., Metcalfe, J., Greene, M., & Hart, C. (2008). Effects of intranasal methamphetamine on metacognition of agency. Psychopharmacology, 197, 137-144.
  6. Metcalfe, J., & Greene, M.J. (2007). Metacognition of agency. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136, 184-199.


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