Meaning-Making Processes Across the Lifespan: An Investigation of the Developmental Course of Metacognitive Capacity

Document Type


Publication Date





Deficits in metacognitive capacity (i.e., the ability to integrate knowledge of oneself and others into a cohesive whole) have been shown to lead to poor functional outcome in psychosis. However, there is a gap in the literature concerning the role of metacognition in typically developing populations, which makes it difficult to define what level of metacognition is normative and at what point deficits in metacognition suggest pathology. To explore this issue, we utilized cross-sectional design to assess metacognitive capacities among 69 neurotypical adults whose ages varied from 18 to 65 using the Metacognitive Assessment Scale – Abbreviated (MAS-A) and then compared those with MAS-A scores from a second previously gathered sample of 360 adults diagnosed with psychosis across four key developmental windows: emerging adulthood, early adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood. Our findings suggest that in our overall sample, individuals with psychosis had significantly lower levels of metacognitive capacity across all domains assessed by the MAS-A in comparison to neurotypical individuals. Additionally, our data suggest a deleterious effect of psychosis such that individuals with psychosis showed significantly lower metacognition in each developmental stage. Additionally, these differences were largest in emerging and late adulthood and for both groups awareness of others stood out as the single metacognitive domain which was significantly less impaired among older groups. Our results suggest a developmental course for metacognitive capacity such that awareness of others is the sole domain that grows over the lifespan.

Publication Title

Schizophrenia Research



First Page


Last Page


Find in your library