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The ability to evaluate the truth of a percept – metacognition – is a core capacity for adaptive decision making. This ability depends in part on our subjective confidence for a given decision, a feeling typically thought to arise from the feed-forward integration of sensory inputs and their reliability. However, confidence is frequently dissociated from decision accuracy, indicating that an additional domain-general mechanism may support metacognition. In this talk, I will present results from a series of quantitative neuroimaging, psychophysiological, and pharmacological experiments, which collectively indicate that perceptual confidence depends in part upon a neuromodulatory, arousal-based mechanism independent of perceptual performance.  These results highlight a new view of metacognition as a form of interoceptive inference, in which perceptual awareness depends upon a predictive process integrating both sensory and visceral states.

Host: Matthew Apps