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Revealing subthreshold motor contributions to perceptual confidence

Gajdos, T; Fleming, SM; Saez Garcia, M; Weindel, G; Davranche, K; (2019) Revealing subthreshold motor contributions to perceptual confidence. Neuroscience of Consciousness , 2019 (1) , Article niz001. 10.1093/nc/niz001. Green open access

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Abstract

Established models of perceptual metacognition, the ability to evaluate our perceptual judgements, posit that perceptual confidence depends on the strength or quality of feedforward sensory evidence. However, alternative theoretical accounts suggest the entire perception-action cycle, and not only variation in sensory evidence, is monitored when evaluating confidence in one’s percepts. Such models lead to the counterintuitive prediction that perceptual confidence should be directly modulated by features of motor output. To evaluate this proposal here we recorded electromyographic (EMG) activity of motor effectors while subjects performed a near-threshold perceptual discrimination task and reported their confidence in each response in a pre-registered experiment. A subset of trials exhibited subthreshold EMG activity in response effectors before a decision was made. Strikingly, trial-by-trial analysis showed that confidence, but not accuracy, was significantly higher on trials with subthreshold motor activation. These findings support a hypothesis that preparatory motor activity, or a related latent variable, impacts upon confidence over and above performance, consistent with models in which perceptual metacognition integrates information across the perception-action cycle.

Type: Article
Title: Revealing subthreshold motor contributions to perceptual confidence
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/nc/niz001
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/nc/niz001
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: perception; confidence; motor processes
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10069422
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