Metacognition about the past and future: quantifying common and distinct influences on prospective and retrospective judgments of self-performance

Fleming, Stephen M., Massoni, Sebastien, Gajdos, Thibault, & Vergnaud, Jean-Christophe (2016) Metacognition about the past and future: quantifying common and distinct influences on prospective and retrospective judgments of self-performance. Neuroscience of Consciousness. (In Press)

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Metacognitive judgments of performance can be retrospective (such as confidence in past choices) or prospective (such as a prediction of success). Several lines of evidence indicate that these two aspects of metacognition are dissociable, suggesting they rely on distinct cues or cognitive resources. However, because prospective and retrospective judgments are often elicited and studied in separate experimental paradigms, their similarities and differences remain unclear. Here we characterize prospective and retrospective judgments of performance in the same perceptual discrimination task using repeated stimuli of constant difficulty. Using an incentive-compatible mechanism for eliciting subjective probabilities, subjects expressed their confidence in past choices together with their predictions of success in future choices. We found distinct influences on each judgment type: retrospective judgments were strongly influenced by the speed and accuracy of the immediately preceding decision, whereas prospective judgments were influenced by previous confidence over a longer time window. In contrast, global levels of confidence were correlated across judgments, indicative of a domain-general overconfidence that transcends temporal focus.

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ID Code: 99941
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: metacognition, confidence, perception, psychophysics, computational modeling
DOI: 10.1093/nc/niw018
ISSN: 2057-2107
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Deposited On: 13 Oct 2016 01:35
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 00:19

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