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Brendan Keane, Kielan Yarrow, Derek Arnold; Metacognition of time perception. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):814. doi: 10.1167/15.12.814.
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It has been demonstrated that people have insight into the accuracy of their own decision-making processes. This is evident from correlations between decisional confidence and objective task performance, and is often described as a form of metacognition, as it requires that the brain has formed an accurate reportable estimate of the precision with which it has encoded information. Metacognitive insight has been demonstrated for judgments concerning diverse visual properties, including orientation (de Gardelle & Mamassian, 2014), contrast discrimination (Fleming, Weil, Nagy, Dolan, & Rees, 2010), and direction (Ratcliff
& Starns, 2013). Here we report that the human brain also forms reportable estimates of the precision with which it has encoded temporal relationships. We examined metacognitive insight into precision during a subjective timing task (audio-visual temporal order judgments), and into accuracy during an objective timing task (a three alternative audio-visual odd-one-out task varying audio-visual temporal offset). In both tasks we found that people expressed levels of confidence that were well correlated with performance. This cannot be attributed to low confidence on trials wherein people simply missed the stimulus presentation, or suffered a lapse in concentration, as participants were required to indicate when this happened, and such trials were repeated. Our data indicate that the human brain accurately estimates the precision with which it has encoded audio-visual timing relationships on a trial-by-trial basis.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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