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Forming global estimates of self-performance from local confidence

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Dayan,  P
Department of Computational Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Rouault, M., Dayan, P., & Fleming, S. (2019). Forming global estimates of self-performance from local confidence. Nature Communications, 10(1): 1141, pp. 1-11. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-09075-3.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-225E-E
Abstract
Metacognition, the ability to internally evaluate our own cognitive performance, is particularly useful since many real-life decisions lack immediate feedback. While most previous studies have focused on the construction of confidence at the level of single decisions, little is known about the formation of "global" self-performance estimates (SPEs) aggregated from multiple decisions. Here, we compare the formation of SPEs in the presence and absence of feedback, testing a hypothesis that local decision confidence supports the formation of SPEs when feedback is unavailable. We reveal that humans pervasively underestimate their performance in the absence of feedback, compared to a condition with full feedback, despite objective performance being unaffected. We find that fluctuations in confidence contribute to global SPEs over and above objective accuracy and reaction times. Our findings create a bridge between a computation of local confidence and global SPEs, and support a functional role for confidence in higher-order behavioral control.