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Confidence is higher in touch than in vision in cases of perceptual ambiguity

Fairhurst, MT; Travers, E; Hayward, V; Deroy, O; (2018) Confidence is higher in touch than in vision in cases of perceptual ambiguity. Scientific Reports , 8 , Article 15604. 10.1038/s41598-018-34052-z. Green open access

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Abstract

The inclination to touch objects that we can see is a surprising behaviour, given that vision often supplies relevant and sufciently accurate sensory evidence. Here we suggest that this ‘fact-checking’ phenomenon could be explained if touch provides a higher level of perceptual certainty than vision. Testing this hypothesis, observers explored inverted T-shaped stimuli eliciting the Vertical-horizontal illusion in vision and touch, which included clear-cut and ambiguous cases. In separate blocks, observers judged whether the vertical bar was shorter or longer than the horizontal bar and rated the confdence in their judgments. Decisions reached by vision were objectively more accurate than those reached by touch with higher overall confdence ratings. However, while confdence was higher for vision rather than for touch in clear-cut cases, observers were more confdent in touch when the stimuli were ambiguous. This relative bias as a function of ambiguity qualifes the view that confdence tracks objective accuracy and uses a comparable mapping across sensory modalities. Employing a perceptual illusion, our method disentangles objective and subjective accuracy showing how the latter is tracked by confdence and point towards possible origins for ‘fact checking’ by touch.

Type: Article
Title: Confidence is higher in touch than in vision in cases of perceptual ambiguity
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-34052-z
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-34052-z
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2018. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
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 > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10071141
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