Computations underlying confidence in visual perception

Spence, Morgan L., Dux, Paul E. and Arnold, Derek H. (2016) Computations underlying confidence in visual perception. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 42 5: 671-682. doi:10.1037/xhp0000179

Author Spence, Morgan L.
Dux, Paul E.
Arnold, Derek H.
Title Computations underlying confidence in visual perception
Journal name Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1939-1277
Publication date 2016-05-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1037/xhp0000179
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 42
Issue 5
Start page 671
End page 682
Total pages 12
Place of publication Washington, DC United States
Publisher American Psychological Association
Language eng
Abstract Humans intuitively evaluate their decisions by forming different levels of confidence. Despite being highly correlated, decisional confidence and sensitivity can be differentiated. The computational processes underlying this remain unknown. Here we find that, for visual judgments concerning global direction, signal range has a greater impact on confidence than it does sensitivity. We equated sensitivity for stimuli containing different degrees of directional variability. This failed, however, to equate confidence—participants were less confident when judging more variable signals despite constant sensitivity. When stimuli were instead calibrated to equate confidence, participants were more sensitive when judging more variable signals. Directional range had no impact on an unrelated judgment of brightness, helping to establish that these results cannot be attributed to a simple decisional confound. Our complementary results show that directional sensitivity and decisional confidence rely on independent transformations of sensory input. We propose that confidence will generally be shaped by the range of differently tuned neural mechanisms responsive to input during evidence accumulation, with this having a lesser impact on sensitivity.
Keyword Confidence
Population codes
Decision making
Bayesian inference
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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