Human VMPFC encodes early signatures of confidence in perceptual decisions

Gherman, S. and Philiastides, M. G. (2018) Human VMPFC encodes early signatures of confidence in perceptual decisions. eLife, 7, e38293. (doi: 10.7554/eLife.38293.001) (PMID:30247123) (PMCID:PMC6199131)

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Choice confidence, an individual’s internal estimate of judgment accuracy, plays a critical role in adaptive behaviour, yet its neural representations during decision formation remain underexplored. Here, we recorded simultaneous EEG-fMRI while participants performed a direction discrimination task and rated their confidence on each trial. Using multivariate single-trial discriminant analysis of the EEG, we identified a stimulus-independent component encoding confidence, which appeared prior to subjects’ explicit choice and confidence report, and was consistent with a confidence measure predicted by an accumulation-to-bound model of decisionmaking. Importantly, trial-to-trial variability in this electrophysiologically-derived confidence signal was uniquely associated with fMRI responses in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), a region not typically associated with confidence for perceptual decisions. Furthermore, activity in the VMPFC was functionally coupled with regions of the frontal cortex linked to perceptual decision-making and metacognition. Our results suggest that the VMPFC holds an early confidence representation arising from decision dynamics, preceding and potentially informing metacognitive evaluation.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gherman, Miss Sabina and Philiastides, Professor Marios
Creator Roles:
Gherman, S.Conceptualization, Resources, Data curation, Software, Formal analysis, Validation, Investigation, Visualization, Methodology, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing
Philiastides, M. G.Conceptualization, Resources, Software, Formal analysis, Supervision, Funding acquisition, Validation, Investigation, Visualization, Methodology, Writing – original draft, Project administration, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Gherman, S., and Philiastides, M. G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:eLife
Publisher:eLife Sciences Publications
ISSN (Online):2050-084X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Gherman and Philiastides
First Published:First published in eLife 7: e38293
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
654411Neural correlates of learning and confidence during decision making and their utility in developing "intelligent technologies".Marios PhiliastidesEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/L012995/1INP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING
643321Neural Correlates of decision confidence in the human brain.Marios PhiliastidesBritish Academy (BRITACAD)SG121587INP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING