What Do Physicians Believe About the Way Decisions Are Made? A Pilot Study on Metacognitive Knowledge in the Medical Context


  • Paola Iannello
  • Valeria Perucca
  • Silvia Riva
  • Alessandro Antonietti
  • Gabriella Pravettoni


Metacognition relative to medical decision making has been poorly investigated to date. However, beliefs about methods of decision making (metacognition) play a fundamental role in determining the efficiency of the decision itself. In the present study, we investigated a set of beliefs that physicians develop in relation to the modes of making decisions in a professional environment. The Solomon Questionnaire, designed to assess metacognitive knowledge about behaviors and mental processes involved in decision making, was administered to a sample of 18 emergency physicians, 18 surgeons, and 18 internists. Significant differences in metacognitive knowledge emerged among these three medical areas. Physicians’ self-reports about the decision process mirrored the peculiarities of the context in which they operate. Their metacognitive knowledge demonstrated a reflective attitude that is an effective tool during the decision making process.