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You’ve probably had that baffling experience of trying and failing to remember someone’s name-even you when you know you know it. Or maybe you’ve pulled into your driveway and realized you had no recollection of the drive you just took. Or perhaps you’ve failed a test that you were certain you’d ace. Why are we so often wrong about what we know? How can we do something as difficult as driving without thinking about it? And how is it possible to know you’ve forgotten something? Underlying these experiences is a complex process called metacognition-the ability to think about what we and others do or don’t think and know. Though you may not have heard of it, metacognition is the key to bridging our understanding of consciousness and intelligence and enables our astonishing abilities both as individuals and as a group.
Know Thyself is cognitive neuroscientist Stephen Fleming’s unprecedented, definitive, and endlessly fascinating examination of this essential human ability. Drawing on his own pioneering studies as well as exciting new insights from computer science, psychology, and evolutionary biology, Fleming explores why we so often think we’re amazing at tasks that we’re terrible at; what role computers and AI should play in our lives; and how we can harness the science of metacognition to think more clearly, make better decisions, and optimize learning inside and outside of the classroom. Not only will understanding metacognition make you less likely to misplace the car keys, but, as Fleming demonstrates, it has far-reaching implications for the use of eyewitness accounts in courtrooms, combating misinformation, and our understanding of what it means to be human in the age of intelligent machines.
For readers of Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, Know Thyself is a groundbreaking work of scholarship that sheds new light on how to be a self-aware human in our modern world.