Confidence predicts speed-accuracy tradeoff for subsequent decisions

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Kobe DesenderTobias H Donner


When external feedback about decision outcomes is lacking, agents need to adapt their decision policies based on an internal estimate of the correctness of their choices (i.e., decision confidence). We hypothesized that agents use confidence to continuously update the tradeoff between the speed and accuracy of their decisions: When confidence is low in one decision, the agent needs more evidence before committing to a choice in the next decision, leading to slower but more accurate decisions. We tested this hypothesis by fitting a bounded accumulation decision model to behavioral data from three different perceptual choice tasks. Decision bounds indeed depended on the reported confidence on the previous trial, independent of objective accuracy. This increase in decision bound was predicted by a centro-parietal EEG component sensitive to confidence. We conclude that the brain uses internally computed confidence signals for the ongoing adjustment of decision policies.

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