Metacognition is “cognition about cognition”, “thinking about thinking”, “knowing about knowing”, becoming “aware of one’s awareness” and higher-order thinking skills. The term comes from the root word meta, meaning “beyond”. Metacognition can take many forms; it includes knowledge about when and how to use particular strategies for learning or for problem-solving. There are generally two components of metacognition: (1) knowledge about cognition and (2) regulation of cognition.
Metamemory, defined as knowing about memory and mnemonic strategies, is an especially important form of metacognition. Academic research on metacognitive processing across cultures is in the early stages, but there are indications that further work may provide better outcomes in cross-cultural learning between teachers and students.
Some evolutionary psychologists hypothesize that humans use metacognition as a survival tool, which would make metacognition the same across cultures.[need quotation to verify] Writings on metacognition date back at least as far as two works by the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC): On the Soul and the Parva Naturalia.