Metacognitive experience refers to the conscious cognitive experience and emotional experience that accompany cognitive activities. Metacognitive experience is an important component of metacognition which is termed as an individual’s cognition of his/her cognitive activities. In the recent years, metacognitive experience has been paid increased attention by marketing scholars. Abundant research has shown that metacognitive experience is closely associated with many consumer behavior research streams（i.e. advertising, new product adoption, grounded cognition and sensory experience, product design and product naming, etc.）, constituting the theoretical cornerstone of these research streams. However, up to date, scholars in China have just paid very limited attention to this construct and this topic—none of scholars published literature review on metacognitive experience and consumer behavior, also very few scholars conducted empirical research on this construct. Importantly, scholars outside of China published one literature review on metacognitive experience 15 years ago（Schwarz, 2004, Journal of Consumer Psychology）. That review work is now extremely necessary to incorporate and include new research findings and arguments, giving that thousands of new research on consumers’ metacognitive experience are conducted. Based on these important research gaps, this review paper is therefore motivated to introduce the construct metacognitive experience to marketing scholars in China, and to elaborate why this construct constitutes the cornerstone of consumer behavior research.
To achieve the aim mentioned above, this review paper is organized as follows. We first define what metacognitive experience is and then introduce how to measure this construct（i.e. how to measure ease of retrieval and how to measure fluency experience）. Next, we review the existing research on three types of metacognitive experience effects: the ease of retrieval effect, the ease of thought generation effect, and the fluency effect. When reviewing these three effects, we not only introduce the antecedents and outcomes of each type of metacognitive experience, but also introduce the moderators and boundary conditions under which the three metacognitive effects will disappear or reverse. We hope that by doing so, we can provide an integrated framework. This is followed by the section of explaining why metacognitive experience constitutes an important cornerstone of many consumer research streams. To illustrate, we elaborate on why metacognitive experience is the cornerstone of research on consumers’ aesthetic preference, new product adoption, product design and naming, advertising and persuasive, consumers’ embodiment cognition and sensory experience, etc. This paper is ended by proposing several important research topics and arguments which are worthy of studying by future research.
We hope that our review work can help more marketing scholars, especially consumer behavior scholars in China, to know the construct of metacognitive experience. We also hope that through reading our review work, more scholars in China can use this construct as independent variables, moderating variables, and dependent variables when conducting their empirical research.