Cross-modal metacognition: Visual and tactile confidence share a common scale


Humans can judge the quality of their perceptual decisions—an ability known as perceptual confidence. Previous work suggested that confidence can be evaluated on an abstract scale that can be sensory modality-independent or even domain-general. However, evidence is still scarce on whether confidence judgments can be directly made across visual and tactile decisions. Here, we investigated in a sample of 56 adults whether visual and tactile confidence share a common scale by measuring visual contrast and vibrotactile discrimination thresholds in a confidence-forced choice paradigm. Confidence judgments were made about the correctness of the perceptual decision between two trials involving either the same or different modalities. To estimate confidence efficiency, we compared discrimination thresholds obtained from all trials to those from trials judged to be relatively more confident. We found evidence for metaperception because higher confidence was associated with better perceptual performance in both modalities. Importantly, participants were able to judge their confidence across modalities without any costs in metaperceptual sensitivity and only minor changes in response times compared to unimodal confidence judgments. In addition, we were able to predict cross-modal confidence well from unimodal judgments. In conclusion, our findings show that perceptual confidence is computed on an abstract scale and that it can assess the quality of our decisions across sensory modalities.




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Journal of vision 23, 5 (2023), 1 - 16, 3




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