Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version


Document Type



The Nebraska Educator, Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 2022), pp. 136-145.



Copyright © 2022 University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Currently, there is a gap between the psychological concept of metacognition and the neuroscientific construct of executive function (EF). The following research proposal attempts to bridge this gap with an argument that component parts of “cold EF” like working memory and cognitive flexibility closely overlap with the component parts of metacognition that include planning and regulation. Additionally, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) are strongly associated with working memory and cognitive flexibility. The proposed research strategy in this article then offers a way to potentially evaluate metacognition through means beyond psychological measures. If the parallels between the concepts of metacognition and EF can be established, it would mean that metacognition could be evaluated using EF components. This has implications for both the research on metacognition and EF but also, potentially, for the evaluation of programs designed to enhance metacognitive skill.