Abstract

The human capacity to compute the likelihood that a decision is correct—known as metacognition—has proven difficult to study in isolation as it usually cooccurs with decision making. Here, we isolated postdecisional from decisional contributions to metacognition by analyzing neural correlates of confidence with multimodal imaging. Healthy volunteers reported their confidence in the accuracy of decisions they made or decisions they observed. We found better metacognitive performance for committed vs. observed decisions, indicating that committing to a decision may improve confidence. Relying on concurrent electroencephalography and hemodynamic recordings, we found a common correlate of confidence following committed and observed decisions in the inferior frontal gyrus and a dissociation in the anterior prefrontal cortex and anterior insula. We discuss these results in light of decisional and postdecisional accounts of confidence and propose a computational model of confidence in which metacognitive performance naturally improves when evidence accumulation is constrained upon committing a decision.

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