Confidence at the limits of human nested cognition

Recht, S., Jovanovic, L., Mamassian, P. and Balsdon, T. (2022) Confidence at the limits of human nested cognition. Neuroscience of Consciousness, 2022(1), niac014. (doi: 10.1093/nc/niac014) (PMID:36267224) (PMCID:PMC9574785)

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Metacognition is the ability to weigh the quality of our own cognition, such as the confidence that our perceptual decisions are correct. Here we ask whether metacognitive performance can itself be evaluated or else metacognition is the ultimate reflective human faculty. Building upon a classic visual perception task, we show that human observers are able to produce nested, above-chance judgements on the quality of their decisions at least up to the fourth order (i.e. meta-meta-meta-cognition). A computational model can account for this nested cognitive ability if evidence has a high-resolution representation, and if there are two kinds of noise, including recursive evidence degradation. The existence of fourth-order sensitivity suggests that the neural mechanisms responsible for second-order metacognition can be flexibly generalized to evaluate any cognitive process, including metacognitive evaluations themselves. We define the theoretical and practical limits of nested cognition and discuss how this approach paves the way for a better understanding of human self-regulation.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work is supported by the French National Research Agency (ANR) grant ‘VICONTE’ ANR-18-CE28-0015 (PM) and the French ANR grant ‘FrontCog’ ANR-17-EURE-0017 (PM). Open access licence charges for this article were paid by Scottish institutions (SHEDL affiliated).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Balsdon, Dr Tarryn
Authors: Recht, S., Jovanovic, L., Mamassian, P., and Balsdon, T.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Neuroscience of Consciousness
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):2057-2107
Published Online:15 October 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Neuroscience of Consciousness 2022(1): niac014
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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