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Rausch, Manuel; Hellmann, Sebastian; Zehetleitner, Michael (2018): Confidence in masked orientation judgments is informed by both evidence and visibility. In: Attention Perception & Psychophysics, Vol. 80, No. 1: pp. 134-154
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How do human observers determine their degree of belief that they are correct in a decision about a visual stimulus-that is, their confidence? According to prominent theories of confidence, the quality of stimulation should be positively related to confidence in correct decisions, and negatively to confidence in incorrect decisions. However, in a backward-masked orientation task with a varying stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA), we observed that confidence in incorrect decisions also increased with stimulus quality. Model fitting to our decision and confidence data revealed that the best explanation for the present data was the new weighted evidence-and-visibility model, according to which confidence is determined by evidence about the orientation as well as by the general visibility of the stimulus. Signal detection models, postdecisional accumulation models, two-channel models, and decision-time-based models were all unable to explain the pattern of confidence as a function of SOA and decision correctness. We suggest that the metacognitive system combines several cues related to the correctness of a decision about a visual stimulus in order to calculate decision confidence.