I am interested in how the human brain is capable of forming metacognitive judgements. Metacognition is usually defined as thinking about one’s own thoughts and actions. This important and ubiquitous ability serves to optimise behaviour in countless situations, ensuring that we have control over what we are doing. If we lose control, metacognitive warning signals ensure the additional allocation of attentional resources.

For example, with regards to decision making, we can be more or less sure that decisions we are making are right or wrong. This becomes present in gambling: people are more willing to bet money on decisions they are confident are right, such as being certain their favourite football team will win a game.

Metacognition is usually investigated through confidence judgements. I am interested in how such confidence is related to the internal values and preferences on which we base our decisions.  My main research questions are (a) how are metacognitive signals formed and (b) how can they be utilized for cognitive control. I am studying these questions using both behavioural and neuroimaging experiments (EEG and MRI), as well as with computational models.

Metacognition can help us decide when to set reminders. For example, we could set an alert on our smartphone to take medication at a certain time of day or put the pills next to our toothbrush. How confident we feel in our own memory can guide us to decide when to use such strategies, which is why I have studied metacognition in the context of such cognitive offloading paradigms.

Other research interests of mine include:

  • Cognitive control, conflict, inhibition and interference
  • Computational models of perceptual and value-based decision making
  • Analysis techniques using non-invasive neural recording measures, such as EEG; single-trial analysis
  • Cognitive ergonomics and interface design