A common mechanism underlies changes of mind about decisions and confidence

Ronald Van Den Berg, Kavitha Anandalingam, Ariel Zylberberg, Roozbeh Kiani, Michael N. Shadlen, Daniel M. Wolpert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Decisions are accompanied by a degree of confidence that a selected option is correct. A sequential sampling framework explains the speed and accuracy of decisions and extends naturally to the confidence that the decision rendered is likely to be correct. However, discrepancies between confidence and accuracy suggest that confidence might be supported by mechanisms dissociated from the decision process. Here we show that this discrepancy can arise naturally because of simple processing delays. When participants were asked to report choice and confidence simultaneously, their confidence, reaction time and a perceptual decision about motion were explained by bounded evidence accumulation. However, we also observed revisions of the initial choice and/or confidence. These changes of mind were explained by a continuation of the mechanism that led to the initial choice. Our findings extend the sequential sampling framework to vacillation about confidence and invites caution in interpreting dissociations between confidence and accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12192
Issue numberFEBRUARY2016
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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