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Meeting Abstract

Forming global estimates of self-performance from local confidence


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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Rouault, C., Dayan, P., & Fleming, S. (2020). Forming global estimates of self-performance from local confidence. In C. Lange-Küttner (Ed.), 61st Conference of Experimental Psychologists: 61. TeaP 2019 (Tagung Experimentell Arbeitender PsychologInnen). Lengerich, Germany: Pabst. doi:10.23668/psycharchives.2468.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-22F8-F
Metacognition, the ability to internally evaluate our own decisions, is particularly useful since many real-life decisions lack immediate feedback. Most previous studies have focused on the construction of confidence at the level of single decisions, but 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 the hypothesis that local decision confidence supports the formation of SPEs when feedback is unavailable. In a series of three behavioral experiments (N=29, N=29 and N=46 subjects), 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 found that fluctuations in confidence contribute to global SPEs over and above objective accuracy and reaction times. Preliminary neuroimaging results (fMRI) suggest that during SPE formation, prefrontal areas may differently represent local confidence signals according to whether they are congruent or incongruent with global SPEs (N=39 subjects). Our findings create a bridge between local confidence and global SPEs, and support a functional role for confidence in higher-order behavioral control.