Interpersonal interaction can be defined as everything one does with and around other people. The ability to interact interpersonally with others is influenced by a number of factors. Metacognition and social cognition are the two cognitive factors that influence peoples’ interpersonal behaviors in a number of ways.
As far as metacognition is concerned, it can be defined as “the processes by which we monitor and control our own cognitive processes” (Frith, 2012). Metacognition is also applicable to others. However, it would then be termed as mentalizing. The stated forms of metacognition are both implicit and explicit. Here, implicit stands for mechanical and without consciousness. Thus, implicit metacognition makes it possible for the people to take on a ‘we-mode’. Such an adoptive behavior allows people to take account of others’ intentions and knowledge in an automatic manner. This mode’s adoption also contributes in the enhancement of joint action. On the other hand, explicit metacognition makes it possible for the people to think and contemplate, and give explanations for their behaviors to other people. Nevertheless, it is exceedingly important to mention here that the underlying processes are not easily accessible by one and others. There are higher probabilities that one’s thinking about the intentions of oneself as well as others may be exceptionally imprecise and erroneous (Frith, 2012).
In contrast, experiments and studies conducted in the recent years reveal that when people discuss their perceptual understandings, experiences, and knowledge with others with whom they interact interpersonally, the detection of sensory signals may become more accurate even if there is a lack/absence of purposeful response. It can be said that an individual’s eagerness and compliance to talk about his/her reasons for actions and opinion with others allows him/her to overcome his/her inability to directly access the fundamental cognitive processes. However, this inability to reach and comprehend one’s underlying cognitive functionalities helps in the creation of the potential for building more correct and truthful accounts of the environment, the human race, and one’s own self. Therefore, it can be easily concluded that explicit metacognition is an exceptionally ability found in human beings that has underwent evolution with the improvement and development of two-way decision-making (Frith, 2012).
On the other hand, social cognition and its study refer to “the individual within a social or cultural context and focuses on how people perceive and interpret information they generate themselves (intrapersonal) and from others (interpersonal)” (Huitt, 2006). Social cognition is related with the cultural influences. Ultimately, such factors mold the perceptions and thoughts of people in an automatic way. For instance, people who have an East Asian cultural background have thinking styles that are holistic in nature. In contrast, people belonging to Western cultures have thinking styles that are analytical in nature. Eastern holistic style of thinking make people concentrate on the general perspective and the manner of objects’ relativity. They may judge a person’s mood and feelings by observing facial expressions and the surroundings that may affect the moods. On the other hand, a person who thinks adopting Western analytic style is attentive to individual objects and tends to overlook the overall context. He may judge the feelings of others by observing only the face.
Thus, both metacognition and social cognition play a vital role for making people interact both intrapersonally and interpersonally. Thus, if an individual has awareness of his cognitive state, he can develop, maintain, and enhance interpersonal interaction and communications.
Frith, C. (2012). The Role of Metacognition in Human Social Interactions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 367(1599), 2213-2223.
Huitt, W. (2006). Social Cognition. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University.