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Ai Koizumi, Brian Maniscalco, Aaron Apple, Xiaoyu Yan, Hakwan Lau; The effects of metacognitive awareness on top-down cognitive control.. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):429. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.429.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Our perceptual decisions are often accompanied by metacognitive awareness, expressed by the confidence in the fact that we have made the right perceptual decisions. Since cognitive control seems to require subjective effort, we wondered whether higher perceptual confidence enhances tasks such as inhibitory control and task preparation. One difficulty here was to dissociate the effect of confidence from that of perceptual accuracy, as they often co-vary. Thus, we developed a new method to create sets of gratings whose tilts were equivalent in discriminability, but differed in confidence levels. Experiment 1 assessed inhibitory control with a Go/No-Go paradigm. Gratings with left and right tilts served as Go- and No-Go-signals. Go-signals required speeded key-pressing, whereas No-Go-signals required withholding of key-press. The rate of hit to Go-signals and that of false alarm to No-Go-signals were measured. The results showed that perceiving the signals with higher confidence did not improve inhibitory control. However, higher confidence in a No-Go-trial reduced false alarm rate on the subsequent trials, suggesting that confidence enhances inhibitory control not immediately but with delay. Experiment 2 assessed task preparation with a task-cuing paradigm. The tilts of gratings cued which of the two tasks, phonological or numerical, was to be assigned. These cues were followed by presentation of the task targets (letter/number) with various delays (SOA of 400/600/800ms). The results showed that when the cues were discriminable with higher confidence, RTs to the targets were equivalent across the SOA levels. However, with lower confidence, RTs became faster only with longer SOA. These results suggest that although higher confidence does not enhance task preparation overall, it may modulate the time course of the cued task processing. Overall, these results suggest that metacognitive awareness may only give subtle effects on enhancing cognitive control, despite the general impression that the latter requires subjective conscious effort.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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