Oct 31, 2018

Prestimulus neural alpha power predicts confidence in discriminating identical auditory stimuli

The European Journal of Neuroscience
Malte WöstmannJonas Obleser


When deciding upon a sensory stimulus, the power of prestimulus neural alpha oscillations (~10 Hz) has been shown to hold information on a perceiver's bias, or confidence, as opposed to perceptual sensitivity per se. Here, we test whether this link between prestimulus alpha power and decision confidence, previously established in vision and somatosensation, also holds in the auditory modality. Moreover, confidence usually depends on the physical evidence available in the stimulus as well as on decision accuracy. It is unclear in how far the link between prestimulus alpha power and confidence holds when physical stimulus evidence is entirely absent, and thus accuracy does not vary. We here analysed electroencephalography data from a paradigm where human listeners (N = 17) rated their confidence in the discrimination of the pitch of two tones that were, unbeknownst to the listeners, identical. Lower prestimulus alpha power as recorded at central channel sites was predictive of higher confidence ratings. Furthermore, this link was not mediated by auditory evoked activity. Our results support a direct link between prestimulus alpha power and decision confidence. This effect, first, shows up in the auditory modality similar to visio...Continue Reading

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