Authors
Brian Maniscalco
National Institutes of Health
Jorge Morales
Johns Hopkins University
Abstract
Confidence can dissociate from perceptual accuracy, suggesting distinct computational and neural processes underlie these psychological functions. Recent investigations have therefore sought to experimentally isolate metacognitive processes by creating conditions where perceptual sensitivity is matched but confidence differs (“matched-performance / different-confidence”; MPDC). Despite these endeavors’ success, much remains unknown about MPDC effects and how to best harness them in experimental settings. Here we developed a principled approach to comprehensively characterizing MPDC effects through analyzing metaperceptual (i.e., type 2 psychometric) functions relating objective performance to subjective confidence across widely varying performance levels and experimental manipulations. We found that MPDC effect magnitude depends on stimulus properties, observers’ sensitivity level, and critically on trial type order (blocked or interleaved across stimulus property variations). Our findings provide the first comprehensive exploration of MPDC effects, offer a prescriptive guide to metaperceptual analysis, and suggest optimal experimental paradigms for experimentally isolating metacognition and awareness in future studies.
Keywords confidence  performance  consciousness  metacognition  psychophysics
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