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Matteo Toscani, Pascal Mamassian, Matteo Valsecchi; Underconfidence in peripheral vision. Journal of Vision 2021;21(6):2. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.6.2.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Our visual experience appears uniform across the visual field, despite the poor resolution of peripheral vision. This may be because we do not notice that we are missing details in the periphery of our visual field and believe that peripheral vision is just as rich as central vision. In other words, the uniformity of the visual scene could be explained by a metacognitive bias. We deployed a confidence forced-choice method to measure metacognitive performance in peripheral as compared to central vision. Participants judged the orientation of gratings presented in central and peripheral vision, and reported whether they thought they were more likely to be correct in the perceptual decision for the central or for the peripheral stimulus. Observers were underconfident in the periphery: higher sensory evidence in the periphery was needed to equate confidence choices between central and peripheral perceptual decisions. When performance on the central and peripheral tasks was matched, observers were still more confident in their ability to report the orientation of the central gratings over the one of the peripheral gratings. In a second experiment, we measured metacognitive sensitivity, as the difference in perceptual sensitivity between perceptual decisions that are chosen with high confidence and decisions that are chosen with low confidence. Results showed that metacognitive sensitivity is lower when participants compare central to peripheral perceptual decisions compared to when they compare peripheral to peripheral or central to central perceptual decisions. In a third experiment, we showed that peripheral underconfidence does not arise because observers based confidence judgments on stimulus size or contrast range rather than on perceptual performance. Taken together, results indicate that humans are impaired in comparing central with peripheral perceptual performance, but metacognitive biases cannot explain our impression of uniformity, as this would require peripheral overconfidence.
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