Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience


Metacognition & Executive Functions

Metacognition and Executive Functions group investigates the processes that supervise the operation of other cognitive processes and which are primarily located in the frontal lobes of the brain. The group is jointly led by Prof Paul Burgess, Dr Sam Gilbert and Emeritus Prof Tim Shallice.

Paul Burgess

Group Leader



+44 20 7679 1139

Sam Gilbert

Group Leader



+44 20 7679 1121

Tim Shallice

Group Leader



Metacognition & Executive Functions Research

The group carries out research on executive functions, the processes that supervise the operation of other cognitive processes and which are primarily located in the frontal lobes of the brain. We use a variety of cognitive neuroscience methods, principally functional imaging (PET, fMRI), human neuropsychology (group lesion studies, single case investigations), computational modelling, human experimental psychological investigations, developmental studies (i.e. studies of how cognition changes as the brain develops) and studies of ageing. The 4 main strands of research being carried out by the group focus on: the roles played by different regions of the frontal lobes in human cognition (particularly brain area 10); the processes controlling how information is stored and retrieved from memory; planning, multitasking, and remembering delayed intentions (prospective memory); the clinical applications of our work (e.g. cognitive neurorehabilitation, psychological treatments, development of assessment tools).

Group Members

Post-Doctoral Research Fellows

 Annika Boldt


I am interested in how the human brain is capable of forming metacognitive judgements. Metacognition is usually defined as thinking about one’s own thoughts and actions. This important and ubiquitous ability serves to optimise behaviour in countless situations, ensuring that we have control over what we are doing. If we lose control, metacognitive warning signals ensure the additional allocation of attentional resources.

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Chiara Scarampi


My research investigates metacognition – how individuals monitor and adapt their behaviour to improve task performance – in a variety of cognitive domains, ranging from memory to perceptual and economic decision-making. In particular, I am interested in studying how metacognition can be used to compensate for the cognitive decline associated with ageing, with the final aim of helping individuals maintain their independence and wellbeing throughout the lifespan

PhD Students 

James Crum

My research focuses on using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to measure brain activity and model functional events occurring in ecological settings in which people engage in real-world tasks. General research interests include typical and atypical functional specialization and integration within the prefrontal cortex, autism spectrum disorders, prospection, emotional regulation, and executive functions such as reasoning, strategy generation, and monitoring.

Chhavi Sachdeva

My research lies within the Metacognition and Executive Functions research group at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. I specifically focus on cognitive offloading and how metacognition influences intention offloading behaviour. I am also interested in how interventions or feedback might change metacognitive judgments, and how this change might influence offloading bias.

Fatemeh Simeen Tabassi Mofrad


My research ranges from cognitive control of language and metacognition to genetics of cognitive neuroscience, mostly using fMRI. Currently I am investigating Dunning Kruger effect and overconfidence in different domains. This PhD program is funded by UCL Overseas Research Scholarship.