Implicit vs. Explicit (or unconscious vs. conscious) Strategy Adaptivity
In the 1980s, I discovered that subjects could quickly adapt the strategy that they were using to answer questions based on a shift in the base rate of the likelihood that a particular strategy would be useful, specifically a retrieval strategy or an inference/reasoning strategy. What I found more surprising is that although subjects were strongly affected by the shifting base rates, they were unaware of these base rates or the strategies that they were employing (they assumed that they always tried to search for the answer first). Since that time, we have found this same result, that subjects can quickly shift strategies to changing base rates in many other domains. We have also found that subjects are oblivious to the strategies they are using or these base rates.

From this pattern of results, I have concluded that much of our strategy selection (or what is sometimes called our metacognition) occurs implicitly or without awareness.

Reder, L.M., Park, H., & Kieffaber, P.D. (2009). Memory systems do not divide on consciousness: Reinterpreting memory in terms of activation and binding. Psychological Bulletin, 135(1), 23-49. [download PDF]

Cary, M. & Reder, L.M. (2002). Metacognition in strategy selection: Giving consciousness too much credit. In M. Izaute, P. Chambres, & P.J. Marescaux (Eds.), Metacognition: Process, Function, and Use. New York, NY: Kluwer, 63-78. [download PDF]

Schunn, C.D., Lovett, M.C., & Reder, L.M. (2001). Awareness and working memory in strategy adaptivity. Memory & Cognition, 29(2), 254-266. [download PDF]

Schunn, C.D. & Reder, L.M. (2001). Another source of individual differences: Strategy adaptivity to changing rates of success. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 130, 59-76. [download PDF]

Spehn, M.K. & Reder, L.M. (2000). The unconscious feeling of knowing: A commentary on Koriat's paper. Consciousness and Cognition, 9, 187-192. [download PDF]

Lemaire, P. & Reder, L.M. (1999). What affects strategy selection in arithmetic? An examination of parity and five effects on product verification. Memory & Cognition, 27(2), 364-382. [download PDF]

Reder, L.M., & Schunn, C.D. (1999). Bringing together the psychometric and strategy worlds: Predicting adaptivity in a dynamic task. In Gopher, D. & Koriat, A. (Eds). Cognitive regulation of performance: Interaction of theory and application. Attention and Performance XVII., MIT Press, 315-342. [download PDF]

Nhouyvanisvong, A. & Reder, L.M. (1998). Rapid feeling-of-knowing: A strategy selection mechanism. In: Yzerbyt, V. Y., Lories, G., Dardenne, B. (Eds.), Metacognition: Cognitive and social dimensions. London: Sage, 35-52. [download PDF]

Schunn, C.D. & Reder, L.M. (1998). Strategy adaptivity and individual differences. In D. L. Medin (Ed.) The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Academic Press, 115-154. [download PDF]

Reder, L.M. & Schunn, C.D. (1996). Metacognition does not imply awareness: Strategy choice is governed by implicit learning and memory. In Reder, L.M., (Ed.) Implicit Memory and Metacognition. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum, 45-77. [download PDF]

Miner, A. & Reder, L.M. (1994). A new look at feeling of knowing: Its metacognitive role in regulating question answering. In: Metcalfe, J. and Shimamura, A. (Eds). Metacognition: Knowing about knowing. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. [download PDF]