You are here:

Understanding metacognitive inferiority on screen by exposing cues for depth of processing

, , ,

Learning and Instruction Volume 51, Number 1, ISSN 0959-4752 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Paper-and-pencil learning and testing are gradually shifting to computerized environments. Cognitive and metacognitive researchers find screen inferiority compared to paper in effort regulation, test performance, and extent of overconfidence, in some cases, with unknown differentiating factors. Notably, these studies used reading comprehension tasks involving lengthy texts, which confound technology-related and cognitive factors. We hypothesized that the medium provides a contextual cue which leads to shallower processing on screen regardless of text length, particularly when task characteristics hint that shallow processing is legitimate. To test this hypothesis, we used briefly phrased yet challenging problems for solving on screen or on paper. In Experiment 1, the time frame for solving the problems was manipulated. As with lengthy texts, only time pressure resulted in screen inferiority. In Experiment 2, under a loose time frame, the same problems were now framed as a preliminary task performed before a main problem-solving task. Only the initial task, with reduced perceived importance, revealed screen inferiority similarly to time pressure. In Experiment 3, we replicated Experiment 1's time frame manipulation, using a problem-solving task which involved reading only three isolated words. Screen inferiority in overconfidence was found again only under time pressure. The results suggest that metacognitive processes are sensitive to contextual cues that hint at the expected depth of processing, regardless of the reading burden involved.


Sidi, Y., Shpigelman, M., Zalmanov, H. & Ackerman, R. (2017). Understanding metacognitive inferiority on screen by exposing cues for depth of processing. Learning and Instruction, 51(1), 61-73. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved May 30, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Learning and Instruction on January 29, 2019. Learning and Instruction is a publication of Elsevier.

Full text is availabe on Science Direct:


Cited By

View References & Citations Map

These links are based on references which have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake, please contact