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Dynamic expressions of confidence within an evidence accumulation framework

  • Desender, Kobe
  • Donner, Tobias H.
  • Verguts, Tom
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104522
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Human observers can reliably report their confidence in the choices they make. An influential framework conceptualizes decision confidence as the probability of a decision being correct, given the choice made and the evidence on which it was based. This framework accounts for three diagnostic signatures of human confidence reports, including an opposite dependence of confidence on evidence strength for correct and error trials. However, the framework does not account for the temporal evolution of these signatures, because it only describes the transformation of a static representation of evidence into choice and the associated confidence. Here, we combine this framework with another influential framework: dynamic accumulation of evidence over time, and build on the notion that confidence reflects the probability of being correct, given the choice and accumulated evidence up until that point. Critically, we show that such a dynamic model predicts that the diagnostic signatures of confidence depend on time; most critically, it predicts a stronger opposite dependence of confidence on evidence strength and choice correctness as a function of time. We tested, and confirmed, these predictions in human behaviour during random dot motion discrimination, in which confidence judgments were queried at different points in time. We conclude that human confidence reports reflect the dynamics of the probability of being correct given the accumulated evidence and choice.

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