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Ella Bosch, Matthias Fritsche, Benedikt V. Ehinger, Floris P. de Lange; Opposite effects of choice history and evidence history resolve a paradox of sequential choice bias. Journal of Vision 2020;20(12):9. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.12.9.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Perceptual decisions are biased toward previous decisions. Earlier research suggests that this choice repetition bias is increased after previous decisions of high confidence, as inferred from response time measures (Urai, Braun, & Donner, 2017), but also when previous decisions were based on weak sensory evidence (Akaishi, Umeda, Nagase, & Sakai, 2014). As weak sensory evidence is typically associated with low confidence, these previous findings appear conflicting. To resolve this conflict, we set out to investigate the effect of decision confidence on choice repetition more directly by measuring explicit confidence ratings in a motion coherence discrimination task. Moreover, we explored how choice and evidence history jointly affect subsequent perceptual choices. We found that participants were more likely to repeat previous choices of high subjective confidence, as well as previous fast choices, confirming the boost of choice repetition with decision confidence. Furthermore, we discovered that current choices were biased away from the previous evidence direction and that this effect grew with previous evidence strength. These findings point toward simultaneous biases of choice repetition, modulated by decision confidence, and evidence adaptation, modulated by the strength of evidence, which bias current perceptual decisions in opposite directions.
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