Faculty Mentor

Erin M. Buchanan

Subject Area



Making judgments is an important part of everyday life, and overconfidence in these judgments can lead to serious consequences. Two potential factors influencing overconfidence are metacognitive awareness, or the awareness of one’s own learning, and the hard-easy effect, which states that overconfidence is more prevalent in difficult tasks while underconfidence is more prevalent in easy tasks. Overall, we hypothesized that participants’ metacognitive awareness would significantly relate to their overconfidence levels. Specific hypotheses were that those participants who display higher levels of metacognitive awareness will have lower levels of overconfidence, that harder questions will elicit higher levels of overconfidence and easy questions will elicit underconfidence (congruent with the hard-easy effect), and that the lower range and upper range will on average be equal, with the exact estimate as the midpoint. Participants (N = 49) completed a questionnaire containing a set of hard and easy general knowledge questions followed by the Metacognitive Awareness Inventory. The correlation between metacognitive awareness and confidence was negative for hard questions and positive for easy questions. Furthermore, the ranges for easy questions were smaller, resulting in more overconfidence, and the ranges for the hard questions were larger, resulting in underconfidence, thus, showing the opposite of our expected hypotheses.


metacognition, psychology, cognition, judgments