A Domain-general sense of confidence in children
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Description: Our minds constantly evaluate the confidence in what we see, think, and remember. Previous work suggests that confidence is a domain-general currency in adulthood, unifying otherwise independent sensory and perceptual representations. Here, we test whether children also possess a domain-general sense of confidence over otherwise independent perceptual dimensions. Six- to 9-year-olds completed either three simple perceptual discrimination tasks—a number task (“Which group has more dots?”), an area task (“Which blob is bigger?”), and an emotions task (“Which face is happier?”)—or three relative confidence tasks, selecting which of two trials they are more confident on. We find that while children’s discrimination performance across the three tasks was independent and constituted three separate factors, children’s confidence in each of three dimensions was strongly correlated and constituted only a single factor. Our results suggest that confidence is a domain-general currency even in childhood, providing a mechanism by which disparate perceptual representations could be integrated.
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