Dynamics of Postdecisional Processing of Confidence

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Description: Most cognitive theories assume that confidence and choice happen simultaneously and are based on the same information. The three studies presented in this article instead show that confidence judgments can arise, at least in part, from a postdecisional evidence accumulation process. As a result of this process, increasing the time between making a choice and confidence judgment improves confidence resolution. This finding contradicts the notion that confidence judgments are biased by decision makers seeking confirmatory evidence. Further analysis revealed that the improved resolution was due to a reduction in confidence in incorrect responses, while confidence in correct responses remained relatively constant. These results are modeled with a sequential sampling process that allows evidence accumulation to continue after a choice is made and maps the amount of accumulated evidence onto a confidence rating. The cognitive modeling analysis revealed that the rate of evidence accumulation following a choice does slow relative to the rate preceding choice. The analysis also shows that the asymmetry between confidence in correct and incorrect choices is compatible with state-dependent decay in the accumulated evidence: Evidence consistent with the current state has a decreasing impact on the location of the accumulated evidence and consequently on observed confidence. In contrast, evidence inconsistent with the current state has an increasing impact on confidence. Taken together, this process-level understanding of confidence suggests a simple strategy for improving confidence accuracy: take a bit more time to make confidence judgments. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000062

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Variables in Study 3: Cities Task Subject number: SubjectID CityLeft & CityRight: Names of cities appearing on the right and left of screen CityLeftPop & CityRightPop: Population of left/right cities CityResponse: CityLeftBox or CityRightBox (basically the choice response: if they chose the left or right city) DecisionAcc: 0 or 1 (accuracy, 1 for correct response) Conf: Confidence rating (integer...

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