Metacognition means “thinking about thinking” or “knowing about knowing.” The word “metacognition” means “above cognition”.
It’s translate into being aware of your own awareness so you can choose the right learning and problem-solving techniques, as well as when to use them.
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Ordinary and altered states of consciousness
Altered states of consciousness can only be defined if there is an understanding of an ordinary state of consciousness.
While scientists can't agree on a clear definition, alte...
Modulating states of consciousness
- Excessive dancing, meditation, and mind-altering plants were used in ancient civilizations to modulate the activity of the mind.
- In 1892, the term "altered states of consciousness" was used to refer to hypnosis.
- William James introduced the scientific investigation of mystical experiences and drug-induced states into the field of psychology.
The five altered states of consciousness
- Pharmacological. These altered states include short-term changes caused by psychoactive substances, such as LSD MDMA, cannabis, cocaine, opioids, and alcohol.
- Psychological. Hypnosis, meditation, and music can lead to altered mental states.
- Physical and physiological. An altered state of consciousness is achieved through sleep, where dreams dissociate one from reality.
- Pathological. A traumatic experience causing brain damage can lead to an altered state of consciousness. Other sources include epileptic or psychotic episodes.
- Spontaneous. Daydreaming and mind wandering can cause altered states.
Our values are our preferences about what we consider appropriate courses of actions.
They strongly influence our decisions. Therefore we should take the time to consider w...
The transmission of values
Personal values can be ethical, moral, ideological, social, or even aesthetic. Values are mostly transmitted through parenting, but our cultural environment also plays a role.
For instance, American parents tend to value intellectual knowledge; Swedish parents value security and happiness; and Dutch parents value independence and the ability to stick to a schedule.
The four personal value orientations
There are four different personal value orientations based on our "terminal values " - our desirable states of existence, and "instrumental values" - the means by which we achieve our end goals.
- Personal-competence. "I value wisdom (terminal), which I believe can be achieved through independent thinking (instrumental)."
- Personal-moral: "I valued true friendship (terminal), which I believe can be achieved through honesty (instrumental)."
- Social-competence: "I valued equality (terminal), which I think can be achieved through ambitious work (instrumental)."
- Social-moral: "I value national security (terminal), which I believe can be achieved through obedience (instrumental)."
The Blindspot Of Ignorance And Incompetence
Humans are not very good at self-evaluation and may be unaware of how ignorant they are. This psychological deficiency is known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect, where an illu...
Meta-cognitive skills are developed by:
- Self-reflection by journaling, along with a review of your progress and personal changes.
- Using second-level thinking by asking yourself about potential blind spots or missing information.
- Using mental models for testing your assumptions and separating the signal from the noise.
- Taking notes using an app or even pen and paper, trying to visualize your knowledge using diagrams and doodles.
- Being aware of the various cognitive biases that can cloud our thinking, and learning more about them.
Meta-cognition is the essential requirement to be able to gauge one’s competence or the lack of it.
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