DOI: 10.1101/480350Dec 3, 2018Paper

Confidence as a priority signal

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
David Aguilar-LleydaVincent de Gardelle


When dealing with multiple tasks, we often find ourselves in the problem of establishing the order in which to tackle them. Here we asked whether confidence, the subjective feeling in the accuracy of our decisions, plays an active role in this ordering problem. In a series of experiments, we show that confidence acts as a priority signal when ordering responses about tasks already completed, or ordering tasks that are to be made. In experiments 1-3, participants were engaged in a dual task and categorized perceptual stimuli along two dimensions. We found that they tended to give first the decision in which they were more confident. We also prove that confidence drives prioritization above and beyond task difficulty or response accuracy, and we discard alternative interpretations in terms of response availability or task demands. In experiments 4-6, we show that when participants have to select which of two sets of trials they want to perform first, they engage first in the set associated with higher confidence, and we extend this finding to situations involving non-perceptual (mental calculation) decisions. Our results thus support the role of confidence as a priority signal, thereby demonstrating a new way in which it regulate...Continue Reading

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