The Feeling of Knowing: Some Metatheoretical Implications for Consciousness and Control

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The study of the feeling of knowing may have implications for some of the metatheoretical issues concerning consciousness and control. Assuming a distinction between information-based and experience-based metacognitive judgments, it is argued that the sheer phenomenological experience of knowing ("noetic feeling") occupies a unique role in mediating between implicit-automatic processes, on the one hand, and explicit-controlled processes, on the other. Rather than reflecting direct access to memory traces, noetic feelings are based on inferential heuristics that operate implicitly and unintentionally. Once such heuristics give rise to a conscious feeling that feeling can then affect controlled action. Examination of the cues that affect noetic feelings suggest that not only do these feelings inform controlled action, but they are also informed by feedback from the outcome of that action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-171
Number of pages23
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The preparation of this article was supported by a research grant from the Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius ZEIT Foundation, and the article was written when the author was a Humboldt fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for Psychological Research, Munich. I thank Ravit Levy-Sadot for her invaluable help in the preparation of this article.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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