Discrete confidence levels revealed by sequential decisions

Abstract

Whether humans are optimal decision makers is still a debated issue in the realm of perceptual decisions. Taking advantage of the direct link between an optimal decision-making and the confidence in that decision, we offer a new dual-decisions method of inferring such confidence without asking for its explicit valuation. Our method circumvents the well-known miscalibration issue with explicit confidence reports as well as the specification of the cost-function required by ‘opt-out’ or post-decision wagering methods. We show that observers’ inferred confidence in their first decision and its use in a subsequent decision (conditioned upon the correctness of the first) fall short of both an optimal and an under-sampling behavior and are significantly better fitted by a model positing that observers use no more than four confidence levels, at odds with the continuous confidence function of stimulus level prescribed by a normative behavior.

Publication
In biorRXiv
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