Think of your mind as a movie set. If your thoughts are the actors then metacognition is the director.
“Metacognition” is thinking about thinking – and knowing about knowing. It’s the higher level of cognition that provides an overview of all cognitive activities taking place at any given time, and from that overview directs the way we do our work. And this ability to think about thinking might have a lot to do with creativity.
Metacognition takes many forms, with one being of particular interest in relation to creativity; when we use our knowledge about cognitive activities or processes to deploy certain strategies for e.g. problem solving. This relates directly to what we discussed in our last blog ‘What does awareness have to do with creativity?’
In an upcoming scientific publication we describe a study where we followed two design teams over a six month period to investigate what makes a good creative team member. Our findings were pertaining to exactly this metacognitive skill of awareness – or ‘process awareness’ as termed in the paper. The most beneficial contribution to advancing the team’s creative process was when members displayed this skill in being able to have an overview of the process, assess the situation and deploy strategies relevant at a given point in the process. Others have written about creativity and metacognition and some even call it metacreativity, however, the editor of the Creativity Research Journal refers to metacreativity being something else.
To further expand the knowledge on this subject we are in an in-progress paper further investigating this very interesting intersection of metacognition and creativity. We believe that in order to foster creativity we need to be self-reflective, and self-regulate our own cognitive creative processes, as well as being reflective about the creative process itself. Where are we in the process, what strategies do we need to be aware of to move to the next stage, and which pitfalls do we need to avoid to end up where we want to? Those should all be highly conscious decisions made purposefully by the creative director in you – your metacognition.
We look forward to keep sharing our findings on metacognition and awareness with you!
On behalf of the CINC team,