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Subjective Confidence Predicts Information Seeking in Decision Making

Desender, K; Boldt, A; Yeung, N; (2018) Subjective Confidence Predicts Information Seeking in Decision Making. Psychological Science , 29 (5) pp. 761-778. 10.1177/0956797617744771. Green open access

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Abstract

There is currently little direct evidence regarding the function of subjective confidence in decision making: The tight correlation between objective accuracy and subjective confidence makes it difficult to distinguish each variable’s unique contribution. Here, we created conditions in a perceptual decision task that were matched in accuracy but differed in subjective evaluation of accuracy by orthogonally varying the strength versus variability of evidence. Confidence was reduced with variable (vs. weak) evidence, even across conditions matched for difficulty. Building on this dissociation, we constructed a paradigm in which participants (N = 20) could choose to seek further information before making their decision. The data provided clear support for the hypothesis that subjective confidence predicts information seeking in decision making: Participants were more likely to sample additional information before giving a response in the condition with low confidence, despite matched accuracy. In a preregistered replication (N = 50), these findings were replicated with increased task difficulty levels.

Type: Article
Title: Subjective Confidence Predicts Information Seeking in Decision Making
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0956797617744771
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617744771
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: metacognition, decision making, confidence, consciousness, subjective confidence, open data, preregistered
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/10076911
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