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Metacognitive monitoring and the hypercorrection effect in autism and the general population: Relation to autism(-like) traits and mindreading.

Autism. 2018 Apr;22(3):259-270

Authors: Williams DM, Bergström Z, Grainger C

Among neurotypical adults, errors made with high confidence (i.e. errors a person strongly believed they would not make) are corrected more reliably than errors made with low confidence. This ‘hypercorrection effect’ is thought to result from enhanced attention to information that reflects a ‘metacognitive mismatch’ between one’s beliefs and reality. In Experiment 1, we employed a standard measure of this effect. Participants answered general knowledge questions and provided confidence judgements about how likely each answer was to be correct, after which feedback was given. Finally, participants were retested on all questions answered incorrectly during the initial phase. Mindreading ability and autism spectrum disorder-like traits were measured. We found that a representative sample of ( n = 83) neurotypical participants made accurate confidence judgements (reflecting good metacognition) and showed the hypercorrection effect. Mindreading ability was associated with autism spectrum disorder-like traits and metacognition. However, the hypercorrection effect was non-significantly associated with mindreading or autism spectrum disorder-like traits. In Experiment 2, 11 children with autism spectrum disorder and 11 matched comparison participants completed the hypercorrection task. Although autism spectrum disorder children showed significantly diminished metacognitive ability, they showed an undiminished hypercorrection effect. The evidence in favour of an undiminished hypercorrection effect (null result) was moderate, according to Bayesian analysis (Bayes factor = 0.21).

PMID: 29671645 [PubMed – in process]

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