Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Eakin Deborah K.

Committee Member

Moss, Jarrod

Committee Member

Bradshaw, Gary L.

Committee Member

Herd, Wendy

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Cognitive Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


The aim of this dissertation was to investigate whether improving metacomprehension accuracy via the monitoring process impacted learning strategy selection implemented by the control process so that comprehension was also improved. A new paradigm—the multi trial metacomprehension paradigm—was introduced to investigate this aim. Participants studied a text using an effective or ineffective learning strategy, made metacomprehension predictions about their future comprehension, and took a comprehension test; there were three trials of this procedure. The goal was to determine whether metacomprehension accuracy improved—leading to improved comprehension accuracy—for the third trial. Experiment 1 tested whether metacomprehension accuracy improved across multiple trials when compared against single trials. Although no difference in metacomprehension accuracy between multiple and single trial conditions was found, comprehension accuracy did improve with multiple trials. However, for a subset of participants whose metacomprehension accuracy across trials did improve, their comprehension accuracy also improved. Although there was no effect of learning strategy on either metacomprehension accuracy or comprehension accuracy overall, the effective learning strategy produced the highest metacomprehension accuracy on the first trial, leaving no room for improvement at later trials. Metacomprehension accuracy only improved when using the ineffective learning strategy if it was used on multiple trials, but never to the same degree as when using an effective learning strategy. Experiment 2 tested whether improved metacomprehension accuracy affected the control process of learning strategy selection by allowing participants to select which learning strategy to use during the third trial. Participants overwhelmingly selected the ineffective learning strategy, even in case in which metacomprehension accuracy improved across trials. This finding calls into question the theory that improved monitoring accuracy informing the meta level leads to better implementation of control process on the object level. However, while metacomprehension accuracy might be necessary to improve comprehension accuracy—and to result in selection of effective learning strategies toward that end—it might not be sufficient. Students should not just be told to use an effective learning strategy; they should also be taught how to use cues during the monitoring process that are diagnostic of future comprehension.